Fire investigators heat things up during conference in Harrison, Ark.

HARRISON, Ark. -- Instructors turned up the heat on fire investigators to make sure they can figure out the starting point of a blaze, which can help them determine how the fire started.

"Whether it be fraud or arson. There's also electrical fires. There's acts of God with lightning. There's undetermined," said Eric Godwin, the president of International Association of Arson Investigators in Arkansas.

This conference puts those fire investigators' skills to the test, so they can maintain their certification.

"You have public investigators who work for municipalities, sheriff's offices, etc. like that. And then you also have a private side who works for insurance companies," said Harrison Fire Chief Marc Lowery.

Instructors set four cars on fire, so fire investigators were able to see the burn patterns that help them determine where the fire started.

One scenario was a short circuit in the electrical system under the dash board. Another was an engine fire.

Once they figure out where the fire started and the cause, that can lead them to an even more important discovery.

"If we have fatality fires, we need to know if someone is negligent or liable for that," Godwin said.

This is the first time in a long time the conference has been held in Harrison.

Fire departments often have to work with other agencies to help find the answers in the ashes.

"We're just a big family. We try to help each other out and take care of each other," Godwin said.

Their training in Harrison continues Friday, where those investigators will learn about cell phone forensics to get data off a phone.

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