Forensic fire investigation consultancy opens new office in Vancouver

17 September 2018 3 min. read
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Amid surging occurrences of wildfire in Western Canada, fire investigation consultancy Origin and Cause has opened a new office in Vancouver. The company primarily serves insurance companies in helping determine the veracity and policy-worthiness of fire and explosion-related claims.

Alberta and British Columbia have been seeing more and larger-scale wildfires in the last few years. The massive Fort McMurray Wilfdfire of 2016 forced the evacuation of 88,000 people, destroyed 2,400 buildings, and became the costliest disaster in Canadian history at an estimated cost of $9.9 billion. A current estimate of insurance payouts from the disaster reaches as high as $4.7 billion.

In 2017, BC saw the largest single blaze in in its history, with 19 fires in the province’s Interior merging to form a single fire of 4,674 square kilometers. Fires that summer displaced more than 3,800 people, while over 400 firefighters worked to contain the massive blazes at the peak of the season.

This summer saw about 2,000 wildfires in BC, with over 400 being started by human activities like campfires, cigarettes, car accidents, and flares.

According to a growing body of environmental science, fires in the western United States and Canada have been becoming larger and more frequent since the 1970s as a result of climate change. Though the ignition events remain independent – lightning/human factors – the warmer temperatures and drier soils caused by earlier snowmelt make the land more susceptible to fire, while drier conditions and higher temperatures increase the duration and severity of wildfires.Forensic fire investigation consultancy opens new office in VancouverFor Origin and Cause, investigating the aftermath of fire is their business, and business is good. The consultancy’s name derives from the forensic fire investigations they perform, which are sometimes called origin and cause investigations. Forensic examinations use a systematic approach and a knowledge of fire science to figure out the whether the cause of fire was faulty wiring, wildfire, arson, or whatever else.

Origin and Cause is Canada’s largest consulting forensic engineering and fire investigation firm, and has been in business for over 25 years. The consulting firm has completed more than 30,000 cases for insurance companies, law firms, independent adjusters, manufacturers, and corporate risk managers.

The firm has 14 offices nationwide from Halifax to Victoria. Now, based on increased demand for its services in British Columbia, Origin and Cause is opening a new office in Vancouver.

"The past few summers have been incredibly difficult for the people and the province of British Columbia, and a challenging time for insurers," commented Origin and Cause President, Mazen Habash. "Our clients in Vancouver need us now more than ever and are constantly reaching out to our Victoria office and neighbouring offices in the West. We are honoured by their trust in our expertise, and are excited to open up a local office so that we can better serve their forensic needs."

The lead expert working out of the new Vancouver office will be Tom Hoppe, a Fire and Explosion Investigator at the firm. Hoppe has over 15 years’ experience conducting investigations into large losses, incendiary fires, and explosions.

"Tom is very well respected in the fire and explosion investigation industry; known for his passion for discovering the truth by determining the facts of an incident, as well as his exceptional customer relations experience," remarked Western Canada Manager Ken Swan. "We are proud to open our doors today on the mainland, and look forward to being a part of the local insurance community."