Vithyaa (Vicky) Dayalan (formerly Thavapalan)
Senior Investigator | BSc, MSc, Grad Dip FI, IAAI-FIT, NAFI-CFEI
Vicky holds a Bachelor of Science and Technology degree from University of Sydney, a Master of Forensic Science from University of Technology Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Fire Investigation from Charles Sturt University.
During her ongoing training she has also studied with the world-renowned Gardiner Associates Training and Research in the UK during 2016 by completing their Advanced Fire & Explosion Course and Practical Course. In 2019 she had attended the Advanced Principles of Fire Dynamics prepared by Dr. James Quintiere and Gulf Coast Fire US which was host by Fire Investigations UK.
In 2017 she had achieved her Fire Investigation Technician (FIT) accreditation and is working towards her CFI qualification with hopes to achieve it by the end of 2019 through the IAAI. In late 2018, Vicky had completed an intensive program in Electricity and Electronics with the University of South Australia, gaining a Distinction in her final examination. She is currently studying to further her skills and is developing her bushfire expertise.
In 2019 Vicky attended her first international job for a heavy machinery fire. Recently she has also become actively involved in the NSW Association of Fire Investigators as a committee member.
What inspired you to enter the fire and explosion investigation industry?
I was studying at UTS when I began taking a subject called Fire and Explosions. We got to a computer simulated experiment which involved investigating a scene. This was a crime scene as well as a fire scene. The combination of the two actually piqued my interest enough to google the industry. Up until that time in my life I had not ever experienced that feeling.
Can you tell us about the most interesting or rewarding case you’ve investigated?
During my years, I have seen a variety of domestic violence cases. I do find these the most rewarding as they help resolve a sensitive situation which by the time a fire occurs already has the police involved. Recently I investigated a scene that we classify as a black pit (completely destroyed and burnt down to the ground) and managed to identify that the cause of the fire was deliberate. Typically black pits are normally ruled as undetermined.
What is your main area of interest or speciality, and why is this area important to you?
My main area of interest is electrical appliances. As technology is constantly evolving new and more causes of fire are created. During my years as an investigator I have seen new technology cause fires and create devastation. Understanding the basics of electrical appliances allows me to investigate any fires that may have been caused by electrical appliances in detail. Such examples include batteries and solar panel systems.
What do you most enjoy about working in the fire and explosion investigation industry?
Every day is different for us and involves solving a case. No two cases are the same. So solving them is the most enjoyable part as sometimes we aren’t able to determine the cause or origin of the fire.
What do you believe sets Fire Forensics apart from other investigation companies?
I have had conversations with other investigators within our industry. Their training is different as well as their ongoing education is very limited in comparison to the opportunities that have been offered by Fire Forensics.
Can you share your proudest career moment?
When I had hit 300 cases in my lifetime as a solo fire investigator. That case was a teenager who got caught smoking and did not put the cigarette out properly.
What are you most looking forward to achieving with Fire Forensics in 2021?
I am looking forward to further developing my knowledge about electrical appliances as well as finally obtaining my IAAI-CFI accreditation.
What are your favourite things to do during your down-time?
I do like to stay fit by going to the gym, pilates, yoga, hiking and pole dancing. A passion project of mine is also running a women’s empowerment group that aims to change the gender stereotypes for all women. One day a week I do also appreciate staying at home on the couch watching movies or putting a puzzle together with my family.