International Training Conference & Expo


Fire Fatality Investigations - A Better Understanding for a Better Outcome

Monday, April 11, 2022 (1:00pm – 5:00pm) (Ballroom 5)


This lecture looks at processing fatal fire scenes and homicidal fire deaths.  Topics include: evidence identification; common pitfalls encountered; autopsies: benefits and key skills every fire investigator needs to know; and the working relationships between fire investigators and death investigators.  Finally, multiple case studies, multi-fatality fires and line of duty death fires will be analyzed.  Fire investigators of all levels of experience will benefit from this lecture.

Learning Objectives:

  1. The medicolegal death investigation process, understanding cause, manner, and mechanisms of death.

  2. Consumption of the body by fire, perimortem, and postmortem changes when exposed to heat.

  3. Fatal fire investigation considerations: for before, while on scene, and post scene.

  4. Common and new tools for fire death investigations.

  5. How to avoid common pitfalls


Clinton Williams

A 30 year Law Enforcement Veteran recently retired from the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office after 20 years. I worked in Fire/Arson Investigations, Canine Handler, and Captain of the Fire Safety Inspections Section. Currently serving as the River Oaks Fire Marshal.


Drew E. Pilkington

Drew E. Pilkington is a Texas Ranger Sergeant for the Texas Department of Public Safety and a Volunteer Firefighter with the Victoria County Fire Department.  Ranger Pilkington is a Certified Fire Investigation Technician (IAAI-FIT®) and Evidence Collection Technician (IAAI-ECT®); a certified Crime Scene Analyst by the International Association of Identification (IAI); a Texas Master Peace Officer, Police Instructor, and Fire Instructor.  Ranger Pilkington received a BS Degree from Texas A&M University, and a MS Degree from Sam Houston State University, and he has completed the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy. 


John Cox

John Cox is a Board Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator with over 20 years experience in forensic death investigation and a career Paramedic/Firefighter and Fire Investigator with over 30 years experience in EMS and firefighting. Mr. Cox is also a Fire Investigation Technician with the IAAI and a New York State certified and ProBoard Fire Investigator. He currently works for the Dutchess County Office of the Medical Examiner and the Arlington Fire District both located in Dutchess County New York. Mr. Cox lectures and consults both nationally and internationally about death investigation and fire fatality investigation on a regular basis.