International Training Conference & Expo


Strengthening Fire and Explosion Investigation in the United States: A Strategic Vision for Moving Forward

Thursday, April 14, 2022 (8:00am – 12:00pm) (Ballroom 6)

The NIST OSAC subcommittee on Fire and Explosion Investigation has spent the last five years developing a strategic plan designed to enhance the discipline of fire and explosion investigation. The document was recently released to the public.  Subcommittee members propose to conduct a panel discussion about the document.  Subcommittee members would outline the content of the document, provide detail on the recommendation, and entertain questions and comments.

Strengthening Fire and Explosion Investigation in the United States: A Strategic Vision for Moving Forward is a strategic plan for improvements in fire and explosion investigation as a forensic science discipline. The OSAC subcommittee for Fire and Explosion Investigation performed an in-depth examination of the past and current state of fire and explosion investigation and its relationship to the judicial system. The subcommittee then developed a comprehensive series of recommendations for how to improve the practice of fire investigation.

The document is approximately 150 pages in length and is dived into 10 chapters.  Chapters 1 through 5 describe the current state of fire investigation.  Chapters 6 through 10 speak to a path forward and include eighteen recommendations targeted to various stakeholders.  Chapter 7 outlines a sixteen item research agenda.

Learning Objectives:

  1. The participant will understand the rationale for producing the Strategic Vision document.

  2. The participant will recognize the importance of the 18 recommendations presented in the document.

  3. The participants will recognize the importance of the 16 research agenda items presented in the document.


Philip E. Crombie, Jr.

Mr. Crombie has more than 40 years of fire investigation, forensic, fire protection engineering and insurance loss control experience.  Since 1997 he has been assigned to the Travelers Engineering Laboratory with responsibility for the investigation of major loses countrywide including all of those over $1 million.  He holds the title of Assistant Vice President.

Mr. Crombie began his career with Aetna as an Engineering Representative in the Hartford, CT in 1979 after graduating from Holy Cross College, Worcester MA with a degree in physics.  As of mid-1994, Mr. Crombie became head of the Technical Operations Group.  In 1996 Travelers and Aetna merged their property and casualty insurance operations.  From April 1996 through May 1997 Mr. Crombie served as Manager, Construction & Civil Engineering responsible for providing safety and loss control services to many of the country’s largest construction companies.

Since July 2002, Mr. Crombie has represented Travelers on the NFPA 921 Technical Committee on Fire Investigations.  In October 2014 he was appointed to serve on the NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees, Fire & Explosion Investigation Subcommittee and is currently Chair.

Mr. Crombie was an active member of the South Windsor, CT Volunteer Fire Department from 1972 to 2012.  Mr. Crombie retired as Chief in June 2012.  He is a Life Member.

Mr. Crombie became an adjunct instructor with the Connecticut Fire Academy is 1980.  Mr. Crombie also served as an Adjunct Instructor with the National Fire Academy.  Mr. Crombie retired from these positions in April 2011.

He has taken course work in the Fire Protection Engineering Masters Degree Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

He is a Life Member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.  He is also a member of  the International Association of Arson Investigators, the National Association of Fire Investigators, and the National Fire Protection Association.  He is a past president of the Connecticut Fire Department Instructors Association.  He holds the grade of Member in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI).