Forensic Arson Investigation Techniques
A fire accident is considered as an arson fire is all the other possibilities of the accident can be ruled out. Arson fires are deliberately created fires to cause damage or destruction of property or life.
In order to claim that the accident is arson fire, the person who is investigating should prove with sufficient evidence that one or more factors of the fire triangle (fuel source, oxygen and heat) was tampered.
The investigation takes a different turn from the normal criminal investigation procedures. The witness and firefighters who immediately came to the scene are interviewed. Since the evidence may be destroyed during the fire fighting process, observations play a very important role. Some of the significant observations include color of the smoke, condition of windows and doors (open or closed), people present during the scene, type of premise (business / residence / commercial) and the items stored in them, the behavior of the fire when it was burning, etc.
The first step in the arson investigation is to find the cause of the fire accident. The professionals try to find out which is the flammable material that led to the fire. They also look for an accelerant which has ignited the scene of crime.
The professionals explore the charred remains and collect the debris. The analysis is done in the forensic lab. The collected samples are sealed and stored carefully in airtight containers. The residues are tested carefully and the accelerant is determined. The most common tests performed at the forensics labs include static headspace, passive headspace and dynamic headspace. The factors that have caused the fire are thoroughly investigated and also the fuel source is deciphered.
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