"Experts in the fields of fire investigation, forensic engineering, subrogation, investigation of insurance claims and liability exposures."
Main Office - Iowa
Lonn Abeltins, CFEI, CFS - Senior Fire Investigator
Lonn Abeltins is the President and Senior Fire Investigator with IFIC. He has over 27 years experience and has conducted over 3,000 Origin & Cause investigations. Lonn is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, as well as a Certified Fire Specialist. He also holds a degree in Fire Science Technology. Lonn has testified as an expert in both federal criminal and civil courts, as well as in various state courts throughout the Midwest.
George Howe, CFEI - Fire Investigator
George Howe specializes in the area of fire origin and cause investigation and also has experience with explosives-related investigations. He has over twenty years of investigative experience. George started his career as a firefighter with the Des Moines Fire Department. He then served nineteen years in the Iowa Department of Public Safety where he held positions as a Trooper in the Iowa State Patrol Division, Special Agent assigned to the Arson and Explosives Bureau of the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Assistant State Fire Marshal and Iowa State Fire Marshal. Since 2002 George has conducted fire origin and cause investigations in the private sector.
Kelly LaFollette, CVFI, CIFI, Fire Investigator, Technician
Kelly LaFollette earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a minor in Psychology from the University of South Dakota in 1991. He worked as a claim representative for more than six years at a large national insurance company, progressing to the Special Investigative Unit. He investigated claims with indicators of insurance fraud for more than seven years. Kelly earned his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Claims and Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator designations. Kelly performs a wide range of investigative tasks from fire scene processing, contents documentation, assisting with lab inspections / testing, to witness interviews. Kelly is also a Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator and is able to recover Crash Data Recorder data from vehicles involved in collisions or other accidents.
Todd Hartzler, P.E. - Electrical Engineer
Todd is the Vice President of IFIC and has been involved in forensic electrical engineering since 1996. Todd has earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Master of Science in Engineering. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Experienced with investigations of residential and commercial wiring, vehicles, HVAC, consumer electronics and industrial process controls, Todd draws from a diversified knowledge base. Todd helps teach electrical investigation techniques and basic electrical concepts at the Arson Investigators School, part of the Iowa Fire Service Training Bureau. Todd also serves as the Chaplain for the Iowa chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Steve Hamers – EIT - Mechanical / Agricultural Consultant
Steve Hamers earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Studies in 1998. Steve is currently pursuing a Masters of Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University. Prior to joining IFIC, Steve worked as a bank officer, insurance agent and agronomist. Steve specializes in machinery fires, mechanical breakdowns, chemical misapplications and grain handling equipment losses. He is an active member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
Tammy Johnson, Office Manager
Tammy Johnson has over 14 years experience in office settings for a variety of companies. Currently Tammy provides administrative support and file management for the investigators and engineers. At IFIC, Tammy has a wide variety of duties and is involved in virtually every facet of the organization.
Chelsea Abeltins-Sawyers, Evidence Technician
Todd Hall, Technical Accident Reconstructionist
Todd has experience in civil and criminal accident cases, representing both plaintiff and defendant sides. He provided expert witness
testimony in Iowa district court, and had real world field-testing / analysis accepted in Iowa district court. Todd has advanced training
in forensic diagramming, animations, and heavy vehicle crash reconstruction. He is a CDR technician, and is a member of Midwest
Association of Technical Accident Investigators (MATAI). Todd is a Reserve Deputy for Dallas County Sheriff's Office.
Dennis McMahon, Technical Accident Reconstructionist
Dennis has investigated hundreds of accidents over 20 years both criminal and civil including plaintiff and defendant sides. He has
provided expert testimony in criminal and civil courts throughout Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. Dennis started his career as a police
reservist in Minnesota before becoming an Iowa State Trooper, 1993 -2004. Dennis has been published in the Crashteams litigators
guide and has been an expert speaker at various litigation and insurance carrier related conferences. Dennis is a member of Midwest
Association of Technical Accident Investigators (MATAI). Dennis has advance training in forensic diagraming, animations and analysis
of crash data retrieval systems. He has had numerous animations accepted into court.
Gary Hong, P.E. - Electrical Engineer
Gary Hong is a Professional ElectricalEngineer (licensed in MN, IL, ND, NE, and WI) and has been involved in Forensic Engineering since 1999. Gary received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Gary has a diverse amount of forensic experience including electrical fire /explosion investigation, product failure analysis, interpreting electrical code issues, product testing, and reviewing of expert cases.
Nebraska Satellite Office
Ken Scurto, CFEI - Fire Investigator
Ken has been in the fire service since 1980, having served on three fire departments in Nebraska and attaining the rank of fire chief. He began his fire investigation career with the Nebraska State Fire Marshal�s Office in 1985 and spent seventeen years with that agency, attaining the rank of investigator. In his career, he has investigated more than two thousand seven hundred fires, has testified in more than seventy criminal and civil cases in four states and has become nationally certified as a fire and explosion investigator. He has continued his investigation career in the private sector since 2002.
Roseanne Scurto, - Investigator
Roseanne began her career in the fire service in Nebraska in 1985 as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. She has been a part time instructor with the Nebraska State Fire Marshal�s office, Training Division since 1994 and teaches all subjects related to the fire service. She was an adjunct instructor at Southeast Community College in the Fire Protection Technology Program for 4 years. She is a member of the Nebraska Chapter of the IAAI, the Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors, and NFPA. Roseanne is an Investigator with IFIC and her responsibilities include assisting fire investigators at fire scenes and with background checks, financial checks, as well as theft and fraud investigations.
Kansas City Office
Ghattas Bitar, - Senior Technical Consultant
For over 10 years, Ghattas has been serving the insurance, legal and corporate communities in matters of high-technology, electrical fire analysis, equipment failure, scope of damage and cause of loss analysis. Ghattas has acquired extensive knowledge regarding lightning and power surge damage to HVAC equipment, industrial/manufacturing equipment and telephone/computer systems. He earned his Bachelors of Electrical Engineering degree from Wichita State University, Kansas.
Gordy Gritters, - CFEI Fire Investigator
Gordy is an experienced investigator specializing in fire Origin & Cause investigations. He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator. Gordy was an Investigator for the Pella, Iowa Police Department where he served from 1977-1989. He was Security Chief at Vermeer Manufacturing Co. from 1989-1991. Gordy was a firefighter with the Pella Fire Department from 1992-2011, served as Training Officer, and was their Fire Investigator from 1998-2011. He is a licensed custom gunsmith with considerable experience in investigating firearms-related failures and accidents.
Eric Drews, - CFEI Mechanical Engineer
Bio Coming Soon