"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review: Fires...Accidental or Arson? by Richard J. Keyworth

Fires...Accidental or Arson
Author:  Richard J. Keyworth
Source:  complimentary copy provided by the author for review

(from the back cover) "It is often said "Firefighters walk where the devil dances."

Author Richard J. Keyworth stands 6'6" tall and his courage and commitment to fighting and investigating fires stand even taller. His account of 14 of the innumerable fires he investigates will intrigue, inform and educate fellow firefighters and law enforcement professionals. Because fire is mystical at times and practical at others, "FIRES...Accidental or Arson?" will also entrance the general public. His investigations will twist and turn and take place in likely and unlikely locations. Readers will be as interested in the investigative process as the investigator's cohorts and the investigator himself. Keyworth is an attention grabbing story teller. Flip up the sides of his fire helmet and he is "Sherlock Holmes". With 40 years experience, his stories continue to intrigue his readers and listeners."

Fires...Accidental or Arson by Richard J. Keyworth. Mr. Keyworth works as a fire inspector and in this book he discusses 14 cases wherein he had to investigate the cause of the fire and determine if there was fault.  Mr. Keyworth manages to discuss these cases in a manner which portrays the fire investigative process, whether the fire be accidental or arson, in an interesting and thoughtful manner.  All names are changed to protect identities.  With a blend of fact, a personal touch and some humour (based on himself, usually), the reader's interest is held, page to page, until, before you know it, you're done.  I read it cover to cover in a day!! 

If you are fascinated with a bit of mystery, cause and effect, and a good story, this book is just what you are looking for!!

Rated 5/5 Excellent!  Word of caution, the final chapter finds Mr. Keyworth in a "brothel" of sorts but the story is kept relatively clean.

(note:  I waited for word of an upcoming virtual tour, but failing that, I've decided this book must be announced.  It's too good not to!)

Words From the Author:

I have been involved in the Investigation of Fires for more than 4 decades. I have utilized my experience to illustrate to my students and coworkers the many different twists and turns a fire investigation will take. I began teaching Fire and Arson Investigation at Harper College in Palatine, Il in1972. I was contacted and asked to teach the course and replied I would be pleased to share my knowledge and skill. When I asked the coordinator if I would start in the Spring semester, he replied no, you start tonight at 5:30PM. Thus began my career at Harper where I have taught off and on since that time and returned again last fall. I have told my stories to college classes as well as at seminars and to friends and associates. On a number of occasions people have asked me to put these stories into a book so more people can not only learn from them but for the enjoyment they have brought my audiences across the country.

One case which will be explored in my next book involved a company that manufactured a product for carpet cleaning. The company attempted to cut corners and in doing so caused a series of fires. After my investigation I wrote articles for the fire service trade journals to alert my fellow firefighters and investigators of this situation. There was also a secondary reason for the articles. Many firefighters clean carpet on their days off.  About a year later, I received a call from a fire chief whom I had known for years and had done training classes for his department. He told me that they were bringing a firefighter up for dismissal hearing that evening, for setting fire to his own house. The chief said one of the firefighters remembered an article I had written in the trade journal. I asked the Chief if this man had a carpet cleaning business on his days off, and the Chief replied yes, he does. I asked if he had photos from the fire, as the fire had occurred several months ago. He replied yes, he did. The Chief asked me if I would assist them as this firefighter was a good man and it bothered the whole department. I told the Chief I would be in his office within an hour. As I reviewed the photos I was able to explain the fire was accidental and how it occurred. The Chief then asked if I would appear at the hearing that night. I replied absolutely. I appeared at the hearing and the firefighter was released and returned to duty. If I had not published myfindings an innocent man would have lost his career and gone to jail. If I save one person from unjust prosecution, that is most important to me. One of the cases in this book, "My Hair Set the house on Fire" involves a similar circumstance. Richard J. Keyworth, CFPS, CHMM

1 comment:

  1. Richard is a very intelligent man. I had an opportunity to meet him in person. Wait until you read "my hair set the house on fire." That is an interesting story!


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