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APRIL 7-12 2024


Investigating Fuel Gas Fire & Explosions

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 (1:00pm - 5:00pm) (Celebrity 4)

Learning Objectives:


  • Given an assignment as a Fire Investigator, students will describe the elements of fuel gas systems and how they can contribute to fire and explosion investigations, as described in NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, 2021 Edition. 

  • Describe the elements of fuel gas systems and how they can contribute to fire and explosion investigations. 

  • Discuss the characteristics of fuel gases. 

  • Discuss the components of natural gas systems.

  • Discuss the components of LP gas systems. 

  • Identify and describe components common to fuel gas systems. 

  • Discuss common piping for fuel gas systems in buildings. 

  • Discuss common appliance and equipment requirements. 

  • Identify fuel gas utilization equipment. 

  • Describe how to investigate fuel gas systems. 

  • Describe Explosion Effects & Pressures 

  • Describe Common Failures of fuel gas appliances 

  • Describe failure modes of common fuel gas appliances 

  • Describe Low order and high order explosions 

  • Describe explosion dynamics 

  • Describe patterns & effects that are caused when fuel gas is introduced 

  • Given the assignment as a Fire Investigator, students will describe the types and characteristics of explosions, as described in NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, 2017 Edition. 

  • Describe the types of explosions.

  • Discuss the characteristics of explosion damage. 

  • Discuss the effects of explosions. 

  • Discuss the factors that control explosions. 

  • Discuss the characteristics of seated, non-seated, gas and vapor, dust, backdraft or smoke, and outdoor vapor cloud explosions. 

  • Explain how to investigate an explosion scene. The student should obtain a basic level of knowledge pertaining to Investigations of Fuel Gas Systems and Fire or Explosions that involve the fuel gas system. When investigating a fire where fuel gas systems are installed, it is very important for investigators to have basic knowledge on how to properly document and inspect the fuel gas system and explain the effects and patterns left from the ignition of gas during a fire. This course will walk investigators through investigating fuel gas systems and how to properly report the findings.


Rick Jones

Mr. Jones has over 27 years of experience in the field of investigations for both the public and the private sectors. He also has prior service and training with local fire districts and the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, specializing in the field of fire and explosion investigations. Mr. Jones has completed numerous courses related to fire and explosion investigations sponsored by the National Fire Academy, Maine State Police, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and other federal, state, and local organizations.

He earned a degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University and is an experienced lecturer on fire and explosion investigations. Mr. Jones has been recognized as an expert witness and has provided testimony on both the state and federal levels.

He advanced to the position of President of the International Association of Arson Investigators in April 2020. He serves as a Director for the IAAI foundation and as a member of numerous IAAI committees.

Rick is a facilitator for the IAAI Evidence Collection Technician (ECT) and Expert Witness/Courtroom Testimony (EWCT) programs. Mr. Jones served as committee chair for the CFI committee until assuming the IAAI Presidency in April and served as committee chair for the IAAI publication Fire Investigator Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033, for both the 2014 edition and the 2017 edition of the publication.

He has been actively involved in the Louisiana Chapter of IAAI, previously serving on the Board of Directors and advancing to the position of Chapter President on two occasions.

Additionally, he serves as a principal NFPA committee member for NFPA 921 Fire Investigations, a principal for NFPA Fire Investigation Units (FIU) , and as an alternate for NFPA 1300, NFPA 1452, NFPA 1730, and NFPA 302.


Tommy Sipsy

Tommy Sipsy is the Chief Fire & Explosion Investigator for Southern Company Gas (38 years). Tommy earned his bachelor’s in science, with a major in Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigations from Eastern Kentucky University, master’s in forensic science Oklahoma State University and is currently working on his Doctorate in Forensic Science at OSU. In his current role as Chief Investigator, he spends much of his time investigating fires and explosions with public sector and private sector investigators, along with assisting with the testing of the natural gas systems in or around a premise and providing expert testimony for the company. Over the last 38 years Mr. Sipsy has been able to obtain valuable knowledge on NFPA 54 and CFR 49.192 fuel gas codes & regulations. Tommy has obtained his Georgia State Arson Investigator Level I & II certifications, National Association of Fire Investigators CFEI, International Association of Arson Investigators CFI, CI, FIT, & ECT certifications.

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