Timothy M. Wilhelm, C.F.E.I., C.V.F.I. Fire Origin & Cause Expert

Timothy M. Wilhelm, Fire Origin & Cause Expert

Tim is an expert in fire investigations and fire department operations; he conducts investigations to locate origin and make initial determination of cause. He also provides technical support to resolve questions related to fire department operations and personnel.

Tim brings more than thirty years of experience with the City of Erie Fire Department, nearly twenty seven years as a firefighter and another six years as Fire Inspector and Fire Prevention Specialist for the City of Erie. In his later roles, Tim was responsible for conducting fire investigations to determine origin and cause; conducting fire safety inspections in commercial buildings; working with code agencies; and assisting with code interpretation for building construction. He also provided lectures and seminars to nursing homes, schools, and other civic groups and provided fire extinguisher training.

Tim is a Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator as well as a Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has certified Tim as a Fire Investigator and a Fire Service Instructor. He is also a member of the National Fire Protection Association, National Association of Fire Investigators, the Pennsylvania Association of Arson Investigators as well as the National Fire Academy Alumni Association. He has been conducting forensic investigations since 1998 and has been affiliated with Robson Forensic Inc. since 2001.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.

Associate

2001 to present

Conduct fire investigations to locate origin and make initial determination of cause. Provide technical support to resolve questions related to fire department operations and personnel. Conduct administrative and technical review of fire investigation reports. Provide testimony on the proper use of the scientific method in fire and explosion investigations.

City of Erie Fire Department

1978 to 2011

Driver/Operator 2004-2011
Responsible for the safe operation of apparatus responding to and returning from emergency situations, responsible for water management and delivery at fire scenes, responsible for the set up and operation of aerial devices at fire scenes.

Fire Inspector; Investigator (Fire Prevention Specialist II) 1998-2004
Conduct fire investigations to determine cause and origin. Conduct fire safety inspections in commercial buildings. Work with code agencies; assist with code interpretation for building construction. Provide lectures and seminars to nursing homes, schools, and other civic groups. Conduct fire extinguisher training.

Fire Fighter 1978-1984 and 1985-1998
Responsible for fire suppression and emergency rescue as well as prevention, disaster preparedness and non-emergency resolution. Performed specific project and program assignments relative to fire suppression, fire training, hazardous materials, fire prevention, paramedic services, and water rescue.

Wilhelm Transfer Service

Owner/Operator

1987 to 1997

Responsible for transfer and care of human remains and warehouse operation for caskets.

United States Air Force

Airman First Class

1974 to 1976

Strategic Air Command, Minuteman Missile Security, Honorable Discharge

Professional Credentials

  • NAFI Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator
  • NAFI Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator
  • National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications: NFPA 1033, Fire Investigator
  • National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications: NFPA 1041, Fire Instructor I
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certified Fire Investigator
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certified Fire Instructor
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certified Vehicle Rescue Technician

Professional Memberships

  • National Association of Fire Investigators
  • National Fire Prevention Association
  • International Association of Fire Fighters (Retired)
  • Pennsylvania Association of Arson Investigators
  • National Fire Academy Alumni Association

Training

  • National Association of Fire Investigators, International (NAFI), Advanced Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation Training Program, 28Hours, 7/15/19- 7/19/19
  • Public Agency Training Council (PATC), Arson Case Management, 8/29/18 – 8/31/18
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) – Fire Science and Litigation – 9/13/18 – 9/14/18
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI), Fire Science and Litigation Seminar, 11/17/16
  • Public Agency Training Council, Fire Pattern Certification, 20 hours (Tested), 3/9/16 – 3/11/16
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI), Fire Science and Litigation Seminar, 11/06/14
  • PA Association of Arson Investigators: NFPA 1033, Trial Prep, Cell Phones & Investigation 101, 6/9/14-6/13/14
  • National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators, 2013 Advanced Insurance Fraud Seminar, 11/11/13-11/12/13
  • Fire Findings, LLC, Investigation of Gas and Electric Appliance Fires (tested), 4/16/13-4/19/13
  • 2013 Ohio Joint Insurance Fraud Seminar, 3/13/13
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI), Fire Science and Litigation Seminar, 1/24/13
  • National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP) - Investigation of Vehicle Defects and Fires, 6/27/12
  • National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP) – Introduction to Metro-Tomography, CT Analysis of Fire Artifacts, 6/26/12
  • National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP) – Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) and Fire Spread Claims, 2/23/12
  • National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP) – Commercial Kitchen Fires, 01/09/12
  • PA Association of Arson Investigators, Appliance Related Fire and Failure Investigation, 01/22/11
  • Mercyhurst College, Public Safety Institute, Hazmat OPS Refresher, 09/28/10
  • Public Agency Training Council, Hands on Vehicle Fire/Arson Investigation, 04/21/10
  • Mercyhurst College, HAZMAT Awareness 472, 03/25/10
  • Mercyhurst College, Structural Burn – Live Fire, 04/01/09
  • Bucks County College, Hazardous Materials Operations, 09/11/08
  • Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, Arson Awareness, 05/10/08
  • Simplex – Grinnell, Alarm & Suppression Systems, 04/03/08
  • PA State Fire Academy, Operations Level Hazmat, 08/14/07
  • Center for Public Safety Mercyhurst College Emergency Vehicle Driver Training, 05/01/07
  • PA State Fire Academy, Pump Operations II, 10/26/06
  • PA State Fire Academy, Pump Operations I, 09/28/06
  • PA State Certified Vehicle Rescue Technician, 06/07/06
  • PA State Fire Academy, Basic Vehicle Rescue: Technician, 04/03/06
  • PA State Fire Academy, Basic Vehicle Rescue: Operations, 11/10/05
  • PA State Fire Academy, Basic Vehicle Rescue: Awareness, 10/13/05
  • National Fire Academy, Rapid Intervention Techniques for Municipal Departments, 09/27/05
  • PA State Police, Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs, 07/21/05
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, NIMS IS-200, 05/18/05
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, NIMS IS-100, 05/06/05
  • National Fire Academy, Incident Safety Officer, 03/31/05
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, BLS Protocols, 03/15/05
  • CPR/AED Recertification, 03/03/05
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, NIMS IS-700, 01/10/05
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, EVOC Driving Course, 11/03/04
  • National Fuel Gas, Natural Gas Emergencies, 10/30/04
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, EVOC Lecture, 10/18/04
  • PA State Fire Academy, Basic Rigging for Rope Rescue, 09/16/04
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, EMS Aircraft Rescue, 07/26/04
  • PA State Police, Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs, 02/09/04
  • Hazmat Awareness and Operations, 01/12/04
  • United States Fire Administration, Grant Program Administration, 12/12/03
  • National Fire Academy, Interviewing/Interrogation Techniques & Courtroom Testimony, 07/18/03
  • Promoted to Fire Prevention Specialist II, Erie Fire Department, 05/01/03
  • CPR/AED Recertification, 04/23/03
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, Lifting and Moving Critically Injured, 05/21/02
  • National Fire Academy, Arson and Fire Investigation, 03/22/02
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, CO Emergencies, 11/14/01
  • Erie Fire Department In-House, EMS Documentation, 11/14/01
  • PA Association of Arson Investigators, Annual Seminar NFPA 921 (tested), 06/15/01
  • National Fire Academy, Plans Review for Inspectors, 06/01/01
  • PA Association of Arson Investigators, NFPA. 921 Session 2 (tested), 04/28/01
  • PA Association of Arson Investigators, NFPA 921 Session 1 (tested), 02/24/01
  • Promoted to Fire Prevention Specialist I, Erie Fire Department, 01/01/01
  • PA State Fire Academy, Educational Methodology, 11/17/00
  • PA. State Certified Fire Instructor I, 11/17/00
  • National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, Fire Instructor I, NFPA 1041, 11/17/00
  • National Fire Academy, Prin. of Fire Protection – Structures and Systems, 11/03/00
  • PA State Certified Fire Investigator, 01/24/00
  • National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, Fire Investigator, NFPA 1033, 01/24/00
  • National Fire Academy, Fire Inspection Principles, 12/17/99
  • National Fire Academy, Building Construction – Non-Combustible, 11/04/99
  • National Fire Academy, Building Construction – Wood & Ordinary, 11/02/99
  • Wicklander-Zulawski, Field Interviewing, 09/14/99
  • PA State Fire Academy, Fire & Arson Investigation – Electrical II, 09/10/99
  • ADT, NICET Level II Alarm Systems, 08/13/99
  • PA State Fire Academy, Fire & Arson Investigation – Electrical I, 02/05/99
  • PA State Fire Academy, Advanced Arson Det. & Fire Investigation, 11/06/98
  • PA State Fire Academy, Arson Detection & Fire Investigation, 04/24/98
  • National Fire Academy, Emergency Response to Terrorism, 02/27/98

Presentations

  • Old and New Hazards and Managing Risk in the Marcellus Shale Era, West Virginia Association of Justice, October 5, 2018
  • Global Conference on Safety and Security Solutions in Travel; A Global Survey of Hospitality Fires, Mitigating Them and Reacting to Them, HospitalityLawyers.com, 2011
  • Property Coverage and Risk Seminar; Fire Investigations, A Closer Look, CEU Institute, 2011

v. 08/8/19

Related Resources

See All of Timothy's Published Content

Barbecue Grill Fires & Explosions

By Timothy M. Wilhelm
Expert Article

In this article, the fire investigators at Robson Forensic discuss the all too common relationship between barbecue grills and structure fires and burn injuries. They also share advice on grilling…

Holiday Fire Prevention

By Timothy M. Wilhelm
Expert Article

In this article, the fire investigators at Robson Forensic discuss two holiday fires to which they personally responded. Our fire safety experts also provide some essential advice on what you can do…

Investigating Cold Fires

By Timothy M. Wilhelm
Expert Article

To the uninitiated a fire scene looks like char and ash with no discernible evidence as to where or why a fire started. Short of finding a melted lighter or remnant of a match, most laypeople are…

Vehicle Fires – Origin & Cause 101

Thursday, December 10, 2020
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Timothy M. Wilhelm & Peter J. Leiss
Video Webinar

This webinar video walks attendees through the basics of vehicle fire investigations, from the foundational principles of determining the area of Origin, to the vehicle-specific systems associated…