A Texas Advisory Council on Arson – ATAC
March 29, 2018
Willhoites Restaurant, Grapevine, TX




In Attendance:

Tim Oates, Coppell Fire Dept.

Tim Dedear, Farmers Branch Fire Dept.

Kelly Johnson, Firensics, Inc.

Walter Clifton, Richardson Fire Dept.

David Mitchell, AMTrust

Michael Carter, State Farm

Charles Anderson, Euless Fire Dept.

Mark Hanna, Insurance Council of Texas


Chairman Tim Oates opened the meeting at 11:05 a.m. discussing how our next ATAC meeting may join either the North Texas SIU group or the North Texas FIA group.  Both Oates and Dedear would be looking at the schedules for both groups to see what might work. 

The minutes were approved by Tim Dedear and seconded by Walter Clifton.

Mark Hanna read the financial report and they were approved by David Mitchell and seconded by Kelly Johnson.

Mark Hanna discussed the State Arson Hotline and how calls were coming in, but no calls had generated enough overwhelming evidence to warrant rewards.  Hanna said he had distributed Hotline posters to numerous fire departments and had recently ordered more, since the State Arson Lab, which helps distribute the posters, had requested more.    

Hanna said he would generate a news release in April highlighting the need to make an arrest in the West explosion.  This year will be the five year anniversary of the explosion which killed several first responders and caused $100 million in insured losses to the small farming community. 

ATAC members voted on renewing the 3-year terms of the Executive Committee.  Tim Dedear, Tim Oates and Lorenzo Chavez were up for renewed terms.  Chavez asked to bow out and Walter Clifton offered to take his place.  The motion to place all three members with 3-year terms was made by David Mitchell and seconded by Tim Dedear. 

Our featured speaker was State Farm SIU Michael Carter.  Carter said he had been with State Farm for more than 20 years, first working claims and then special investigations for the entire DFW area.  Carter said he worked both auto and fire and that included theft, staged accidents, walk aways and arson.  His job duties included scene investigations, interviewing witnesses, checking on cell towers and working with engineers.  He said he deals with a ton of statements and works with police and fire marshals in providing needed information.  Carter said investigators need to be careful in cooperating with other fire investigators.  He said trial attorneys will look at over friendly cooperation among investigators as bad faith toward their client.   He was asked if he was ever told that a case was “not worth pursuing,” which he said, “No.”  

Members discussed the recent recall of 480,000 Kidde smoke alarms.  Several fire departments including the Dallas Fire Department had announced that they would replace all of the smoke alarms in the city.  Hanna mentioned that the 20,000 smoke alarms that ICT had provided firefighters were First Alert alarms. 

Johnson reminded members of the upcoming training on April 10 and 11 in Garland that would be for law enforcement members only.  Dedear brought up the live burn that would be taking place on May 22 and 23.  Dedear also mentioned a potential speaker would be Officer Blair who teaches numerous classes.

Chairman Oates said our next meeting would take place sometime in June, but an exact date and the possibility of meeting with another group was yet to be determined. 

The meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.  ICT paid for the luncheon.