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Ellie Johnston

Investigator | BSc, MSc, Grad Cert FI, IAAI-FIT, NAFI-CFEI

About Ellie

Ellie graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science, she went on to complete a Master of Science in Forensic Science at the University of Technology Sydney, then followed on with Charles Sturt University for her Graduate Certificate in Fire Investigation. She also holds a Forensic Medicine and Crime Scene Investigation Certificate from Victoria University, and she became a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator with the National Association of Fire Investigators. 

Ellie joined us as an intern in 2017 during her Master’s course and showed a natural aptitude and enthusiasm for fire and explosion investigation. On finishing her MSc, in July 2018 she took up a full-time position with us and completed our in-house training program, augmented by studies in the UK at the world-renowned Gardiner Associates Training and Research facilities. There she reached the level required for UK Skills for Justice Level 5 Certification. In April 2019 she attended the International Association of Arson Investigators annual International Training Conference in Jacksonville, USA to increase her knowledge and skills with some of the world’s best investigators and instructors.

Throughout Ellie’s time with us, she has already been involved in investigating over 200 fire and explosion incidents in structures, vehicles and mining machinery.​



What inspired you to enter the fire and explosion investigation industry?

When I was applying for my master’s course, I was able to locate the subject breakdown. Fire & Explosion was in the first year second semester, honestly I didn’t realise it was an independent job until then. I was excited to learn about it before, during and after I took the subject. Then taking on an internship with Fire Forensics cemented the fact that I wanted to do this job. 


Can you tell us about the most interesting or rewarding case you’ve investigated?

Interesting always depends on the jobs, they’re always different. An interesting job I investigated was a fire that resulted in being caused by a mosquito coil. 


What is your main area of interest or speciality, and why is this area important to you?

My main area of interest is thermal burns. This area helps me understand what happened to a person/people in different situations and allows me to draw upon my two degrees.

What do you most enjoy about working in the fire and explosion investigation industry?

The variety of jobs. No job is ever the same, there are always differences and similarities with some jobs but that’s what keeps it interesting. 


What do you believe sets Fire Forensics apart from other investigation companies?

All our investigators are always learning/developing their skills and areas of interests. We travel the world for different conferences to experience how other companies/countries perform their investigations and learn of the new developments in forensic science and fire investigation techniques and equipment. We’re all approachable and keen to network, plus we currently have offices over three states of Australia, but we travel wherever needed. This all sets us aside from our competitors.  


Can you share your proudest career moment?

I’m still fairly new in my career as a fire investigator, so I do not have any huge achievements. However, I am proud of the fact I have recently completed over 200 cases and I have successfully passed the NAFI-CFEI (National Association of Fire Investigators – Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator) test.

What are you most looking forward to achieving with Fire Forensics in 2021?

I would like to further develop my skills in thermal burns and attend some conferences/networking events. 


What are your favourite things to do during your down-time?

I like to read and play lawn bowls. 

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