In the News: Nicole Brewer Hired as Fire Investigator for Oregon Fires
On Labor Day, 2020 four fires burned more than a million acres across the state of Oregon, destroying thousands of homes and killing nine people.
According to Jefferson Public Radio, PacificCorp, a large electric company in the northwest, is facing multiple lawsuits including two class-action suits and two wrongful death suits because the utility failed to shut off its power lines during the windstorm.
Following the legal filing, Nicole Brewer, Principal Consultant at Envista Forensics, was hired on as a fire investigator to review the evidence and help determine whether or not PacifiCorp was at fault. Brewer reviewed available evidence including public records, documents from PacifiCorp, eyewitness testimony, burned sites, and equipment.
Brewer is a Certified Fire Investigator, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, and Evidence Collection Technician with over 23 years of fire service experience, and has provided expert testimony on multiple occasions in grand juries, trials, and depositions
During her investigation, Brewer found PacifiCorp’s electrical equipment likely caused or contributed to the spread of the fires in Echo Mountain, South Obenchain, Southern Oregon, and Santiam Canyon. Though, because she didn’t have full access to all public reports, further examination of the fires will still be required to identify specific causes.
State and federal investigations into the causes of these fires are still ongoing.
Ms. Nicole Brewer is a Certified Fire Investigator, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and Evidence Collection Technician with over 26 years of fire service experience. Prior to her current position as a Portland Fire/Arson Investigator, her assignments have included Firefighter, Training Specialist, Lieutenant, and Fire Inspector. She has personally investigated and consulted on over 2,000 fire and explosion scenes in the city of Portland, OR, and in the private sector. Her investigations include those involving residential and commercial structures, vehicles, wild land, heavy equipment, manufacturing and industrial facilities, and watercraft.
Ms. Brewer has led incidents involving complex issues, such as fatalities, civilian and fire fighter injuries, multi-million dollar losses, criminal activity, fire detection and suppression system failures, and explosions. She has provided expert testimony on multiple occasions in grand juries, trials and depositions. Ms. Brewer has worked to validate three fire investigation textbooks produced by the International Fire Service Training Association. She is a Certified Fire Investigation Instructor with experience teaching fire service personnel, attorneys, adjusters, and civilians in lecture and live-burn settings.