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About us

Training Undertaken

In 1989 Ken qualified as a Detective and as part of his training he was worked on the then Christchurch Arson Squad.

In June 2002, he undertook the Advanced Criminal Investigation Branch Investigators Course.

In September 2003, he attended and passed the Advanced Cause and Origin Fire Investigation Course with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre, Glynco, Georgia, and USA.

In July 2005, he undertook training with the Melbourne Fire and Emergency Service, Fire Investigation and Analysis Unit, and sat and passed Level 5 of the Australian Fire Competency Standard in Fire Investigation and Fire Technology and obtained their National Certificate.

In October 2006, he completed and passed the National Rural Fire Authority Course, International Unit Standard in Wildfire Investigations.

In October 2007, he undertook refresher training with the Melbourne Fire and Emergency Service, Fire Investigation and Analysis Unit. He was assessed and was deemed to be competent to the following Australian registered Fire Investigation elements.

  • Fire Scene Safety
  • The Fire Investigation Process
  • Identification, Gathering and Preservation of Evidence
  • Examination and Analysis of Evidence
  • Interview, Motives, Reporting and Multi-Agency Roles
  • Factors Influencing Fire Behaviour
  • Fire Scene Examination and Advanced Investigation

He also attended a number of specialised courses and training, including personal instruction in Fatal Fire Investigation with Dr John DE HAAN, the author of “Kirk’s Fire Investigation” who is a recognised world expert in fire and arson investigation.

From September 2013 to July 2015, Ken studied and completed the Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Fire Investigation) through the Canberra Institute of Technology.

As part of his professional development, Ken underwent the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Certified Fire Investigator Training (CFI) Program which included modules such as:

  • A Ventilation-Focused Approach to the Impact of Building Structures and Systems on Fire Development.
  • Arc Mapping Basics.
  • Insurance and the Fire Investigation
  • Motive, Means, and Opportunity: Determining Responsibility in an Arson Case.
  • Physical Evidence at the Fire Scene.
  • The Scientific Method for Fire and Explosion Investigation.
  • In 2017 and 2018 Ken attended the IAAI International Training Conference in the USA and completed and passed the General Sessions examination.

    In November 2017 Ken attended the IAAI Complex Fire Investigation for the Insurance Industry course at the National Center for Explosive Training and Research, at Huntsville Alabama

    In September 2019 Ken attended and passed the Victorian Police Bushfire Arson Investigation Course.

    Qualifications

    • Ken is currently one of only three New Zealand holders of the IAAI (International Association of Arson Investigators) qualification Certified Fire Investigator (CFI). The CFI Programme acknolwdges experetise and encourages continuing education and training in the field of fire investigation. Today, more than ever, there are continuing changes in the field of fire investigation, many things have made the job in determining fire origin and cause extremely challenging. One way of meeting that challenge and to keep pace with the many changes as a CFI. The CFI Programme acknolwdges experetise and encourages continuing education and training in the field of fire investigation.
    • Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Fire Investigation) - Canberra Institute of Technology
    • Advanced Cause and Origin Fire Investigation - ATFE
    • National Certificate, Level 5 of the Australian Fire Competency Standard in Fire Investigation and Fire Technology
    • National Rural Fire Authority, International Unit Standard in Wildfire Investigations
    • New Zealand Police Diploma in Policing
    • Victorian Police Bushfire Arson Course

    Professional Membership

    Ken is a member of:

    • New Zealand Association of Fire Investigators Inc. NZAFI (formally FIANZ). Ken is Immediate Past President of the Fire Investigators Association of New Zealand Inc.(now NZAFI)
    • Institution of Fire Engineers. (IFE)
    • Victorian Association of Fire Investigators Inc. (VAFI)
    • International Association of Arson Investigators. (IAAI)

    Training Delivery

    Ken has conducted training for the New Zealand Police and New Zealand Fire Service in Fire and Arson Investigation for:

    • Detectives on the Advanced Investigators Course
    • Detectives Qualifying Course
    • Criminal Investigation Trainees
    • Scene of Crimes Officers
    • New Zealand Fire Service Fire Safety Investigators

    Between 2004 and 2010 he was responsible for the conducting of the Fire and Arson Investigation Induction Course for the South Island CIB Training Services.

    As part of the training for the Fire Investigation course he wrote or extracted the following papers given to trainees:

    • Introduction to Basic Fire Science in Fire Investigation
    • Fire Investigation Fire Scene Safety
    • Fire Investigation Process & Investigative Techniques
    • Principles of Fire Investigation
    • Electrical Fires scene Examination and Indicators

    He also had input to the New Zealand Police Best Practise Manuel for Arson Investigation Best Practice 2010.

    Testing and Reconstruction

    As part of the training delivery and for professional development he has set a variety of compartment fires in controlled circumstances and has completely burnt four different structures to study fire growth and fire behaviour.

    He has also been involved in the investigation of a large number of vehicle fires and has set a variety of different fires in approximately 30 vehicles while conducting fire investigations, training and investigation testing.

    Areas of testing and research have included:

    • Molotov Cocktails
    • Incendiary devices
    • Electrical Testing
    • Use of X-rays
    • Recovery of fingerprints/DNA from fire scenes

    Overseas Investigations

    In November 2004, Ken assisted the Samoan Police, Prison and Fire Service, regarding an investigation at a major fire in SV McKenzie’s warehouse in Fugalei, Samoa.

    In July 2005, he attended and investigated six fires with Melbourne Fire and Emergency Service, Fire Investigation and Analysis Unit, Victoria, Australia.

    In November and December 2006, he was the Fire Investigation Co-ordinator for the New Zealand Police, assisting the Tongan Government and Police investigating the fires and arsons in Nuku’alofa, after the riots on 16 November.

    Ken conducted forensic fire investigations in Vunimono Fiji November 2014 and again in Wailevu, Labasa, Fiji in July 2015.

    Lectures and Training Delivery

    Ken has conducted training and delivered lectures to a number of professional organisations involved in Fire Investigation, both in New Zealand and Australia including:

    • Regional Rural Fire Committee Chairman's Conference on Managing Fire Investigation.
    • Australasian Loss Adjusters, New Zealand conference on multiple scene examination.
    • In September 2007, he briefed the Australian Federal Police representatives in fire scene coordination.
    • In October 2007, he was the keynote speaker for the Victorian Association of Fire Investigators 2007 Conference, on managing and conducting multi scene and major investigations.
    • New Zealand Fire Service National Fire Risk Management Conference on Arson Reduction - A Police/Fire Initiative.
    • In 2008, he spoke to the Victoria Police Arson & Explosion Forum on Fatal Fire Investigation.
    • In 2009, he spoke to the New Zealand Coroners’ conference on fatal fire investigation.
    • In September 2010, he spoke to the Australian Association of Fire Investigators conference on fire investigations.
    • In Novemober 2019, he spoke to the Australian Association of Fire Investigators conference on use of social media in fire investigations.

    As part of his role as the New Zealand Police Fire investigator Ken attended, conducted or co-ordinated more than 250 fire or arson investigations in New Zealand, Samoa, Victoria and Tonga.

    As of September 2019, Ken has conducted over 550 investigations or peer reviews on behalf of insurance companies, legal firms, and private clients in New Zealand and the Pacific.

 

Ken Legat

Previous Position

Ken Legat was employed by IAG New Zealand Ltd as a Fire Origin and Cause Investigator.

His primary role was to conduct Fire Origin and Cause investigations, to attend fire scenes at the request of the different claims teams within IAG New Zealand Limited, to identify and establish the origin and cause and origin of the fire.

He conducted over 200 Fire origin and cause investigation including investigation involving domestic commercial motor vehicle and rural fires.

Police Background

Ken was a member of the New Zealand Police from 1976 to 2008.

He qualified as a Detective in 1989. As part of his training he worked on the then Christchurch Arson Squad.

In November 1999 he was promoted to Detective Sergeant.

He was also the Fire Investigation Co-ordinator for the Canterbury CIB with the principal objectives being to co-ordinate, supervise or undertake investigations into major and serious fires, including fatal fires, by determining the point of origin of a fire and from this establishing the cause of a fire.

He was also a national investigative resource used by Police Districts as a consultant for fire origin and cause investigations and fire investigation training.

As part of that role he attended more than 250 suspicious fires or arsons.

A fire or explosion investigation is a complex endeavour involving skill, technology, knowledge, and science.