State arson investigators in Gulf Shores learning what fire can teach

Baldwin County

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Smoke, flames, total destruction. One of a driver’s worse fears has to be a car fire. Learning how they started and what caused them is the job of arson investigators.

“We do these burns so not only the students in the classroom get to hear the education and get to see the pictures, then they can come out here and actually apply what we do.” Jeff Morrill is one of the lead instructors of an arson investigators conference hosted by the city of Gulf Shores for more than a decade. “So many of our fire investigators don’t get the training they need to actually go out and do their jobs.”

By burning vehicles in a controlled setting, 140 students attending the conference will get the hands-on experience and training needed to recognize burn patterns, find points of origin and read the clues the fire leaves behind. “The exposure these investigators are getting this week with these vehicle burn scenarios will pay dividends long after today,” says State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen. “It is immeasurable how important it is.”

The conference runs through Wednesday.

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