UCLan fire educator receives warm recognition

6 March 2023

Stephen Andrews is the inaugural recipient of the John DeHaan Memorial Award

A fire expert from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has received a special achievement award for his dedication to teaching hundreds of fire investigators.

Stephen Andrews was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the John DeHaan Memorial Award by the United Kingdom Association of Fire Investigators (UK-AFI).

The senior lecturer in forensic fire investigation has been teaching UK and international fire officers, forensic scientists, insurance investigators and recent forensic science graduates for the past 20 years.

He said: “To be the first person chosen to receive such a special award, which honours such a legend in the field of fire investigation, is truly humbling.”

The assessor for the Chartered Society of Forensic Scientists has been teaching on UCLan’s undergraduate and postgraduate forensic science and fire engineering courses for the past 13 years. He still works independently as an expert witness in forensic fire investigations and has knowledge within the area led to him being a specialist adviser on the BBC drama Traces.

His career began at the Fire Research Station of the Building Research Establishment and after three years he became a Higher Scientific Officer at the Fire & Explosions Laboratory of the Health & Safety Laboratory. During seven years in that role, he became more involved in the investigation of explosion and fire incidents so in 1998 he became a forensic scientist, joining the Chorley-based Forensic Science Service. In his role as an investigator, he attended fires, gas and petrol explosions and carried out laboratory examinations of fire debris.

It was here that he began teaching practical fire investigation to fire service and police scenes of crime personnel in 2000. He was a regular instructor on short courses with the National Centre for Training in Scenes of Crime and his passion for teaching future investigators led to him joining UCLan in 2010.

In addition to working in classrooms and laboratories, Stephen has also been an invited speaker at UK and International fire investigation conferences over the last 20 years.

John DeHaan was an American criminalist who authored six editions of Kirk’s Fire Investigation, a renowned textbook in fire investigation, and Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction.

Stephen was presented with his certificate by UCLan forensic science, and fire engineering alumnus James Acott, who is now the President of the UK-AFI.

James commented: “It was a huge personal privilege for me as incoming President to present Stephen with the John DeHaan Memorial Award. When we created a prize to recognise someone who had given their time to share their knowledge and expertise with other fire investigators, Stephen Andrews was a worthy recipient.

“Stephen has been such an important presence in the field of fire investigation for two decades. Not only has he worked first-hand on scenes and then carried that knowledge into full-time teaching, but he has also presented at fire investigation conferences, several of our audience members at the UK-AFI conference had benefitted directly from Stephen’s tutoring and mentoring.”

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