Fire & Explosion


Fire losses form a large part of our work and losses can be extremely varied. Examples include:

  • The total destruction of a major industrial complex
  • Domestic washing machine fires
  • Arson at a newly purchased but derelict building
  • A series of fires in commercial vehicles
  • A ship fire involving damage to the vessel and cargo
  • A fire in heavy plant machinery

Hawkins has the expertise to investigate them all.


We have a good knowledge of typical policy cover and the information we provide assists clients with decisions on:

  • Policy liability
  • Breach of warranties
  • Breach of Policy conditions
  • Recovery

This applies to commercial, domestic and marine losses anywhere in the world.

We find that clients are especially interested in causation with regards to establishing liability when considering subrogation opportunities. It may be clear that the fire started in the dishwasher but did you know that:

  • The appliance was repaired only days before?
  • The cause could be attributed to faulty workmanship in the repair?
  • Or to a faulty replacement part?

If so, is recovery of your outlay a realistic proposition? Perhaps more to the point, how do you prove this to the courts without the services of an experienced and articulate forensic expert?


In most investigations we start by obtaining witness evidence, usually in the form of statements. Consideration of such evidence is the first step in establishing a narrative of events and often important in determining policy liability.

Liaison with official agencies is often an important part of fire investigation and Hawkins is well versed in handling losses involving the Police, Fire Brigade, HSE and other agencies. Some losses involve fire alarms, intruder alarms and CCTV. Our investigators are experienced in obtaining and interpreting data from such systems.

At the heart of fire and explosion investigation is the interpretation of patterns of fire damage and a consideration of other physical evidence. Hawkins' investigators are highly experienced in both areas and can piece together the varied aspects of physical evidence to uncover the seat or seats of a fire.

Witness marks are created during a fire. These marks can often tell us whether locks or bolts were shot home or whether the power to an appliance was on or not at the time of a fire. Additionally, marks alleged to have been left by intruders in breaking into the building can disclose much to the trained expert.


Finally, when handling the claim for the cleaning of buildings or contents do not forget our Contamination Assessment Service. It should play a central role in your response to major losses involving smoke damage to buildings, stock and contents. Hawkins' highly qualified chemists will tell you with certainty whether cleaning is required as a direct result of the fire or simply from the build up of dirt over the years; something that is not covered by the policy. For more details see the contamination web page.

At the heart of fire and explosion investigation is the interpretation of patterns of fire damage and a consideration of other physical evidence.

Contact Us

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