Meet the Team

Professor Richard Walls
Head of Research
Richard Walls (PhD, MSc, GDE, BScEng, BTh, PrEng) is the head of the Fire Engineering Research Unit at Stellenbosch University (FireSUN). He worked as a professional structural engineer designing industrial, petrochemical and commercial buildings before joining Stellenbosch University as a lecturer and researcher. His areas of research include structural fire design, informal settlement fire safety, timber in fire (CLT), full-scale fire testing, fire modelling and bulk storage facilities.

Dr Natalia Flores Quiroz
Natalia Flores (PhD, MSc, BEng) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Fire Engineering Research Unit at Stellenbosch University. She worked as a fire safety engineer designing active fire protection systems for the mining industry. She holds a M.Sc. in Fire Safety Engineering from Ghent University. Her areas of research include reconstruction of past incidents, wildland urban interface (WUI) fires.

Courtney Devine
Courtney Devine (BEng, MEng) is a mechatronic engineer with a masters in electrical engineering. Her areas of research include fire safety for recycling facilities, renewable energy fire safety and green fire safety challenges.

Dr Antonio Cicione
Antonio Cicione’s (PhD, BEng) areas of research include full-scale fire testing numerical modelling (Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling, Zonal modelling and Finite Element modelling), and 3D printed concrete structures in Fire. He has collaborated with some of the world’s leading fire experts and has published numerous journal and conference papers on various fire related topics. He now runs Cicione Fire & Structures consulting engineers in Nelspruit.

Mr Dirk Streicher
Dirk Streicher (BScEng, MSc, PrEng) is the owner and founder of Ignis Testing in Cape Town. He has been passionately working with students and active in research carrying out fire tests as part of numerous projects. He has led the design, construction and implementation of Ignis’ test equipment including full-scale furnaces, a cone calorimeter and various test setups. He is an extraordinary faculty member of Stellenbosch University.

Danielle Antonellis
Danielle Antonell is (BS, MS) is the Founder & Executive Director of Kindling, a nonprofit dedicated connecting fire safety knowledge to local and global humanitarian and development efforts to reduce the unequal impact of fire on people, property and livelihoods in vulnerable communities around the world. A passionate safety and resilience consultant, Danielle has a proven track record of establishing and leading interdisciplinary teams to tackle intractable problems.

Prof Lesley Gibson
Lesley Gibson (BSc, Hons, MSc, PhD) is a geographer with a particular interest in geospatial science and its application across disciplines. She spent over three years at University of Edinburgh, UK, where she was a postdoctoral researcher in fire safety for international development. Here she was involved with the IRIS Fire project where she applied geospatial techniques to map and understand fire spread in Cape Town’s informal settlements. She is currently a Fire Safety Researcher at Kindling, a fire safety NPO.