Social Media

Fire investigations reports

Technical reports



Video production projects

Interactive training programs

College Fire Safety Forum-Final Report



Campus Firewatch Newsletter

  • Since 2000, Ed Comeau has published Campus Firewatch, a monthly newsletter that focuses on the complex issues of campus fire safety. This ground-breaking newsletter has helped lead to an increased awareness of campus fire safety across the nation. This web site contains a wealth of material including videos, posters, an extensive compilation of campus-related incidents since 2000 displayed as an embeddable map and spreadsheet..


  • Vision 20/20 A project of the Insitution of Fire Engineers since 2006, Ed serves as the communications director, responsible for web site, press releases and managing the social media aspects.
  • Campus fire safety for students with disabilities, a project with the Michael H. Minger Foundation
  • Resident Assistant Campus Fire Safety, a project with the Michael H. Minger Foundation
  • 9 Fires Documentary, a project of the Michael H. Minger Foundation and Campus Firewatch
  • International Association of Fire Fighters Juvenile Firesetter Database Project. A project to develop the framework for the creation of a national juvenile firesetter database.
  • National Association of State Fire Marshals "Unknowns" project. A project to determine why a disproportionate number of fire investigations reports have "unknown" as the cause of the fire and to develop plans to try and correct this anamoly.
  • National Campus Fire Safety Month, an annual project of Campus Firewatch
  • Campus Fire Safety Capitol Hill Day, an annual project of Campus Firewatch
  • Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Regulations, legislation signed into law in 2008
  • Green Building Fire Safety, a project with the National Association of State Fire Marshals

Social Media

Ed Comeau manages a number of social media channels, including

Ed Comeau also produces podcasts for

Fire Investigations Reports

Ed Comeau, as chief fire investigator for the NFPA, was the investigator and author of a number of significant incidents.

Summaries of these reports are available on line.

  • Airport Fire-Düsseldorf, Germany (also the subject of an NFPA Journal article) One of the most significant fires ever documented in an airport terminal killed seventeen people. The facts learned by Ed in the days immediately following this fire were published in a report that detailed this tragic incident.

  • Board and Care Fire-Arlington, Washington (also the subject of an NFPA Journal article by Ed Comeau) Another fire in a continuing string of fatal board and care fires was investigated by Ed. Eight women were killed in this fire started by smoking materials.

  • Board and Care Fire-Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania A fire in a facility housing elderly, mentally challenged residents killed 10 people.

  • Board and Care Fire-Mississauga Ontario In another board and care fire investigated by Ed, seven residents were killed in a fire in a one-story building that was started by smoke materials.

  • Board and Care Fire-Ste. Genevieve, Quebec (also the subject of an NFPA Journal article) Seven elderly residents were killed in a midday fire started by careless smoking.

  • Bulk Retail Store Fire-Tempe, Arizona (also the subject of an article that appeared in the UK magazine, Fire Engineer) Another fire in a home improvement store provided additional information to the fire protection community on the proper fire protection needs for these types of stores.

  • Dormitory Fire-Franklin, Massachusetts A fire in a turn-of-the-century dormitory building completely destroyed the structure. However, there were no lives lost, primarily due to the fire prevention efforts of the college and the fire department.

  • Dance Hall Fire-Gothenburg, Sweden  A quick moving fire in a crowded dance hall resulted in the deaths of 63 people.

  • Dust Explosion-Lenoir, North Carolina This incident killed two workers in a furniture manufacturing facility. Significant contributing factors to this tragedy included the lack of effective dust control and housekeeping.

  • Earthquake-Kobe, Japan As part of a federal government team, Ed Comeau traveled to Japan to document the fire-related aspects of the devastating earthquake that struck Kobe.

  • English Channel Tunnel Fire-Folkestone, United Kingdom (also the subject of an NFPA Journal article by Ed Comeau) The English Channel, or 'Chunnel' experienced a fire that, fortunately, did not result in any loss of life or serious injury. Ed's investigation and subsequent report did result in a fascinating study of the events that led to this significant fire.

  • Fire Fighter fatalities-West Helena, Arkansas Three fire fighters were killed when an explosion occurred at a pesticides repackaging facility.

  • Fire Fighter Fatalities-Seattle, Washington Four fire fighters were killed in an arson fire. The arsonist fled the country, resulting in an extensive effort to extradite him back to the United States.

  • Hospital Fire-Petersburg, Virginia 5 people were killed in a New Years Eve fire. As a direct result of this fire, Virginia mandated that all hospitals in the state be sprinklered.

  • Restaurant Fire-Boston, Massachusetts A fire that started on a kitchen grill extended into the duct work and traveled five floors before igniting the roof of this historical building.

  • Retail Store Fire-Mableton, Georgia Five large cylinders of propane were stored inside the loading dock of this retail store. When a fire broke out, they exploded, severely damaging the sprinkler system, which allowed the store to be completely destroyed by the fire.

  • Rockefeller Center High Rise Fire-New York City This fire, which involved five electrical closets, was a significant challenge to the New York Fire Department and vividly demonstrated the dangers of a fire in a high rise building.

  • School Fire, Pangnirtung-Northwest Territories, Canada A fire in sprinklered school that was being renovated provided information on the need to ensure that all areas of a building are completely sprinklered.

  • Terrorism-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (also the subject of an NFPA Journal article) Ed was on the scene the day following the most tragic terrorist incident to strike the United States. Given unprecedented access to the rescue operations and command personnel, Ed was able to provide a valuable account of the operations.

  • Treasury Building Fire-Washington, DC (also the subject of an NFPA Journal article and an article in the UK magazine, Fire Prevention) A fire started during roofing operations not only burned the roof of this building but completely shut down the U.S. Treasury for several days following the fire-a significant business interruption.

  • Warehouse Fire-New Orleans, Louisiana (also the subject of an article in Fire Prevention magazine in the UK) Two fires in a one million square foot warehouse completely burned the sprinklered building to the ground. Unfortunately, when the second fire occurred, the sprinkler system had been shut down as a result of the first fire.


Technical reports

  • Campus Fire Safety for Students with Disabilities report
  • Cook County Administration Building Review  This fire killed six people in a high-rise office building in downtown Chicago.  The governor retained James Lee Witt Associates to study this incident and develop a comprehensive report.  Ed Comeau was the Operations Team Leader and principal author of the report.
  • NEC/IEC Comparison and Contrast © 1999 NFPA Used with permission Ed Comeau was retained by NFPA International Operations to conduct a comparison and contrast between NFPA's National Electrical Code and the IEC 60364. This also served as the basis for an article that appeared in the November/December, 1999, issue of NFPA Journal.


  • Fire Protection at the Kennedy Space Center  NFPA Journal  © 2004  How is America's spaceport protected from fire?
  • Constant Vigilance  NFPA Journal © 2003 NFPA The importance of ongoing fire inspections for fire safety
  • The Big Dig NFPA Journal © 2003 NFPA NFPA 502 drives safety in the world's largest tunnel system.
  • Terrorism has changed the face of the world  Fire International Magazine © 2002, llc  Terrorism has forever changed how the fire service goes about its business of saving lives and protecting property.
  • Revamping Duesseldorf Airport  An exclusive NFPA Online Article  © 2002 NFPA  In 1996, a catastrophic fire at Dusseldorf International Airport in Germany killed 17 people and injured 87 others. When the new terminal opened last summer, significant changes, prompted by that fire, had been made?  Ed Comeau traveled back to Germany to find out.
  • Rescue Air Systems Fire Engineering, Fire Australia Journal, Fire Prevention (UK)  © 2002, llc  This innovative air replenishment system is finding its way into high-rise buildings in the United States.
  • Chunnel Vision  NFPA Journal © 2002 NFPA The English Channel Tunnel fire forced British and French officials to revamp their safety procedures and training practices.
  • Olympic Sized Fire Protection  NFPA Journal © 2002 NFPA  How did Sydney plan for the Olympics, and what does Salt Lake City have in store for fire protection?
  • Searching for Survivors  NFPA Journal © 2002 NFPA  What rescue personnel were facing at the World Trade Center.
  • Combustible Storage  NFPA Journal © 2001 NFPA Improperly stored oxidizers can pose a fire risk in warehouse occupancies. 
  • Preventing Wildfire Meltdown  NFPA Journal © 2001 NFPA  A progressive wildfire suppression plan pays off for nuclear lab.

  • Colocation Facilities  NFPA Journal © 2001 NFPA  The growth of businessesí computers sharing space in remote data centers outpaces fire protection standards.

  • Working Against Arson, NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA  Activated in August 1999, the DuPage County, Illinois, fire investigation task force is hoping to have an impact in the fight against arson.

  • NIST Simulator Provides New Picture of  Determining the contributing factors to fire fighter fatalities has just received a high-tech boost.

  • Capitol Challenge, NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA  Protecting the United States Capitol means dealing with a historic building filled with priceless artwork and Congress, which canít be interrupted for every renovation.

  • What's New at ATF, NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA  A new research laboratory will allow more thorough fire investigations.

  • interFIRE VR, NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA  More on this cutting-edge training tool for fire investigators.

  • Staying  Connected, NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA  NFPA 76 addresses the growing need for fire protection requirements in telecommunications facilities. 

  • Gothenburg Disco Fire, NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA  On October 28, 1998, a disastrous arson fire occurred during a Halloween party at a nightclub in Gothenburg, Sweden. Of the estimated 400 young people in attendance, 63 died in the blaze.  This article is based on Ed Comeau's investigation of this tragedy.

  • A Field Guide to Incident Analysis, National Fire & Rescue Magazine  This article, co-authored by Ed Comeau, provides a description of the indicators a first-due officer should use when sizing up the fire investigations potential of a fire scene.

  • The integrated chain of survival - paramedic care in the US, Fire International (UK)  In the US, the role of paramedics and first responders increasingly involves hospital levels of care en route to emergency departments. 

  • The Evolution of Technical Rescue NFPA Journal © 2000 NFPA Technical rescue has come a long way since its origins, and today it's a mainstay in the fire and rescue services.

  • Virtual Reality Learning in Fire Investigation, Fire International (UK) This article covers the new CD-based training tool, interFIRE VR.

  • Roof Collapse Kills Three, NFPA Journal © 1999 NFPA This article outlines the tragic fire in Lake Worth, Texas, that claimed the lives of three fire fighters who died when a lightweight wood truss collapsed upon them.

  • Action required to reduce US firefighter fatalities, Fire International (UK) This article is an overview of the factors contributing to fire fighter fatalities and some of the measures that could be taken to help reduce their occurrence.

  • ATF National Response Team, NFPA Journal © 1998 NFPA This article was based on Ed Comeau's firsthand experience with the ATF NRT at a number of incidents.

  • Board and Care Fires, NFPA Journal © 1998 NFPA There is a growing problem of fatal fires in board and care facilities, and this article outlines not only the past incidents that have occurred, but the potential problem that we face as society ages.

  • Düsseldorf Airport Terminal Fire, Fire Prevention (UK) An article based on the report by Ed Comeau appeared in the professional journal, Fire Prevention in the United Kingdom.

  • English Channel Tunnel Fire, NFPA Journal © 1998 NFPA   An account of the events that led up to the fire that occurred in the 51 mile tunnel underneath the English Channel and the fire fighting operations that ensued.

  • Florida Tornadoes, NFPA Journal An article based on the investigation conducted by Ed Comeau detailed the emergency services operations that occurred on this widespread disaster.

  • Tempe Bulk Retail Fire, International Fire Engineers Journal (UK) The full report on this fire was reprinted in this UK professional Journal.


  • Structural Fire Fighting  Ed Comeau was the developmental editor for a textbook on structural fire fighting published by the NFPA.  Ed provided not only editing services, but contributed a significant number of case studies from his experience at NFPA to augment the points covered by the authors.

Video Projects

Ed Comeau has served as both a subject matter expert and onscreen talent for a number of video projects.
  • 9 Fires There were a series of 9 campus-related fires that struck across the country in a span of three weeks in January and February 2012. Ed Comeau developed the idea of documenting the impact of these fires on the families, the victims and the communities in partnership with the Michael H. Minger Foundation. The trailer is available online and the full video will be released in September 2012.

  • igot2kno As part of this online training program, a detailed video that chronicled the fictional experience of students trapped in a fire was produced. Ed Comeau was an integral part of the production team for this project.
  • Graduation-Fatally Denied  An innovative campus fire safety program designed to drive home the importance of campus fire safety to students.  This program was conceived and produced by Ed Comeau

  • Blaze A four part series that was aired in the UK on Channel 4 and in the United States on The Learning Channel. This was a series that explored the causes of fires. Ed Comeau served as both a technical resource and an onscreen talent for this international project.

  • Fire Investigations A six part series produced by NFPA based on its best-selling guide, NFPA 921, Guide to Fire and Explosion Investigations. This projected required extensive script review and editing as well as working with the production company at filming sites across the United States and Canada.

  • NFPA Special Reports A five part series based partly on fire investigations reports produced by NFPA's Fire Investigations Department. This project entailed significant research, script review and production assistance.

  • Fire-The Nature of the Beast A documentary produced by the Discovery Channel for broadcast in the United States and the United Kingdom. Ed Comeau served as a subject matter expert by providing the production company with background information on a number of significant NFPA fire investigations reports. He also served as an onscreen talent, providing information on several of these incidents.

  • Firecops A documentary produced by the Discovery Channel for broadcast in the United States and Canada. Ed Comeau assisted the production company by providing background information based on NFPA's fire investigations reports.

Interactive Education and Training Programs

  • igot2kno This interactive campus fire safety education program was developed in partnership with the People's Burn Foundation of Indiana and included videos along with an online testing component.
  • Living With Fire  Hosted by the U.S. Fire Administration, this site is a comprehensive suite of "tools" that can be used by campus fire safety educators in developing their own fire safety programs. Ed Comeau designed the original site which has grown over the years under the direction of the US FIre Administration.
  • Campus Housing Fire Safety The Campus Safety, Health and Environmental Managers Association (CSHEMA) contracted with to develop an interactive, 2-day campus fire safety training program.  This program is designed to train and educate campus housing officials on the importance of campus fire safety and how to best implement the many facets of an effective program on their campus.
  • interFIRE VR Ed Comeau served on the project team that is developing an interactive CD to train fire investigators in the steps to follow to properly investigate a fire scene. Using virtual reality technology, it takes the fire investigator inside of an actual fire scene where subjects can be interviewed, the scene can be analyzed, photographed, and "dug out." It is a public/private partnership between NFPA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, American Reinsurance, and the United States Fire Administration that brought together the top experts in the fields of fire investigations and interactive education. 

College Fire Safety Forum-Final Report

  • A forum organized by the US Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association was held at NFPA headquarters in 1999. This forum was coordinated by Ed Comeau, who also wrote the final report detailing the findings of this forum. The report is available, on-line, through this site.



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