Congratulations to our FACAP 2022 Award Recipients
Public Sector Investigator of the Year - Jeff Clare
Private Sector Investigator of the Year - Paul Haas
Lifetime Membership Award - Chris Porreca
Jerome F. Gant Public Service Award - Joe Pietrafesa
Summary for 2022 Legislative Relevant to Fire Investigations, Firefighters and Fire Investigators
The following bills have been passed in the Florida Legislature, but as of 4/08/22, have not yet been signed into law by the Governor (go to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (flgov.com) for updates):
HB 557 & SB 838 FIRE INVESTIGATOR CANCER TREATMENT BENEFITS. This bill revises the definition of the term “firefighter” to include full-time, Florida-certified fire investigators for the purpose of expanding eligibility for certain cancer treatment benefits to include such investigations.
HB 1563 & SB 1748 HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR CLASSROOM TEACHERS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, FIREFIGHTERS, CHILD WELFARE PROFESSIONALS AND SERVICEMEMBERS. These bills also provide for a one hundred-million-dollar appropriation for the Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program for Florida first responders making them eligible for grants to help with down payments on new homes in addition to the homestead exemptions.
HB 31 & SB 264 FIRERIGHTER INQUIRIES AND INVESTIGATIONS. These bills provide that firefighters have certain rights during an informal inquiry and that a firefighter may not be threatened with certain disciplinary action during an informal inquiry or interrogation.
HB 677 & SB 634 JUDICIAL NOTICE. Allows courts to accept images and other information taken from web mapping services, global satellite imaging sites, or internet mapping tools, e.g., Google Maps, as evidence, so long as the date stamp is visible. Also allows for authorizing parties to object to the admissibility.
HB 749 & SB 1292 FRAUD PREVENTION. Revises 633.126, F.S., substituting administrative penalties, including fines, for insurance companies or their representatives, which fail to comply with a request made under F.S. 633.126.
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News around the State
June 30, 2020
The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS), Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations (BFAEI), lost one of its own, former Det. Roland “Tony” Gray, who passed away on June 22, 2021, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Tony was a U.S. Air Force veteran and worked for over 28 years in law enforcement, beginning his career as a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer in 1990 where he served for 20 years until his retirement in 2011. During his time with the NYPD, Tony rose to the rank of detective and was awarded the NYPD Combat Cross, the second highest medal awarded by the agency. After the NYPD, Tony moved to Florida where he continued his law enforcement career as Bay Harbor Islands Police Department officer in 2011 working general investigations. Tony was promoted to the rank of detective in 2013 and was later recognized with the 2014 Police Officer of the Year award.
Tony began his career with DIFS in May of 2015 as a detective with the BFAEI in the Jacksonville field office. In June of 2016, Tony transferred to the Tallahassee field office to accept the K-9 detective position where he was assigned to work with accelerant detection canine (ADC) “Mumsie” until his retirement in March of 2019.
Tony touched the lives of all he came in contact with and will be greatly missed. It was a pleasure to work with him and to know him. Our deepest condolences go out to the Gray family. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Rest in Peace Tony. You are always in our hearts.
Recalls and Investigations
Schneider ElectricTM recalls over 1.4 million electrical panels. The load center can overheat posing thermal burn and fire hazards.
Kia recalls nearly 500,000 vehicles due to fire hazards in the engine compartment. The recall notices that Hyundai and Kia engines can catch fire even when turned off. The automakers do not know what the cause is at this time but suspect it is tied to the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system. The current recall due to fire dangers affects owners of:
Kia Sportage SUVs were built from 2014 through 2016.
Kia K900 sedans were built from 2016 through 2018.
Some Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs were built from 2016 through 2018.
Santa Fe Sports was built in 2017 and 2018.
Santa Fe XL built-in 2019.
Tucson SUVs were built in 2014 and 2015.
SPIRIT Halloween recalls over 12,000 black light fixtures due to fire and burn hazards. The bulb in the fixture can pop, flash, and overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.