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Arson Investigation

  • Fire Investigation: 5 Helpful Tips for Documenting Arson Scenes

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    Unfortunately, 2016 saw several wildfires that are now suspected arson cases, such as the recent fires in Tennessee and Northern California. Fire scenes are often some of the toughest scenes to investigate and analyze. Potential evidence has been disturbed or destroyed; the area might not be safe; and they’re naturally dark, making it difficult to spot items of interest. However, fire scenes should be treated as crime scenes and extensively documented. Arson cases typically go to trial about...
  • How to photograph difficult scenes

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    The likelihood of an ideal arson or crime scene to photograph are pretty slim. You’re often up against difficult conditions, while at the same time, it’s important to get clean and detailed, photos. It sounds impossible but we’re here to help. Below, we’ve covered five difficult scenes to photograph and the best practices to get that crisp image. On a side note, you first need to understand how each setting: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and depth of field (DOF), in your camera works....
  • Command Your Scene: 3 New Fire & Arson Investigation Kits

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    There’s no two arson scenes that will look exactly the same; the burn patterns, starting points, motives, etc. will always be different. The best way to help eliminate uncertainty in a fire and arson investigation is to employ the right tools to conduct your investigation. We’re all about making things a little easier for the people with the toughest jobs. We partnered with fire and arson investigators to compile the best tools for your investigations, the things you may have thought about...
  • Five photography terms every arson & crime scene photographer should know. BONUS: the Painting with Light technique

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    Investigators and witnesses can describe scenes, sometimes in great detail. However, photographs can tell the story better with objectivity. They freeze time and leave a permanent record of the scene. Despite its advantages, photography remains the least understood and developed skillset for arson and crime scene investigators. Below we’ve covered four photography camera settings you should know about and highlighted why they’re important. All of the settings interact with each other and...
  • John Jay College Offers The Arson Screening Project

    By: Administrator
    The Center for Modern Forensic Practice John Jay College of Criminal Justice 524 West 59th. Street New York, NY, 10019 A 2002 compilation by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (a study that surveyed only half of the states) counted over 5,000 prisoners serving arson sentences. At least a dozen arson convictions have generated death sentences. There is no question that many of these arson convictions and sentences rest on false science: that many “arsons” were accidents. The Innocence...
  • Old Arson Cases in Texas Being Reviewed by New Panel

    By: Administrator
    From: Associated Press Stories A review by the State Fire Marshal’s Office covering old old arson cases that might have relied on bad science has so far discovered several questionable convictions. But the effort has also drawn criticism from a West Texas prosecutor whose office has had one of its convictions questioned. The prosecutor is now asking the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop the reviews. The Austin American-Statesman reported the review of old arson cases...
  • Ignitable Liquid Fuel Fires in Buildings

    By: Administrator
    DOJ Study: Christopher L. Mealy and Daniel T. Gottuk Hughes Associates, Inc. 3610 Commerce Drive, Suite 817 Baltimore, MD 21227 Ph. 410-737-8677 FAX 410-737-8688 The development of a fire within an enclosure and the corresponding impact of the enclosure on the combustion process are dependent on numerous factors. These factors can be grouped into three different categories: enclosure geometry, ventilation, and fuel. The first category that needs to be considered is the geometry of the...
  • Arson Scene Investigation Procedure-Part B

    By: Administrator
    Arson annual property losses amount to more than $1 Billion and the number of arson-caused deaths are nearly 500 each year. Arson Scene Investigation Procedure- Part B By: Don Penven, Technical Support Group Introduction According to statistics published by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), an average of 267,000 fires per year are the result of arson. Annual property losses amount to more than $1 Billion and the number of arson-caused deaths are nearly 500 each year. The...
  • Arson Scene Investigation Procedure-Part A

    By: Administrator
    The investigation of fire scenes is a very complex undertaking. Unlike most other forms of investigation, much of any possible physical evidence has been consumed by the fire. Fire Scene Photo...Courtesy of Franklin Co. (NC) Sheriff's Dept. The fire marshal or fire scene investigator must arrive at one of two conclusions: 1. The fire was of an accidental or unintentional nature 2. The fire was caused by the intentional acts of some individual The purpose of this, and a subsequent post is to...
  • Arson Investigation: The Chemistry of Fire – Part 2

    By: Administrator
    Fire investigation is performed by investigators whose first responsibility is to determine: (1). was the fire cause by accidental events, or, (2). was the fire started as an intentional act. Fire Scene photos courtesy of the Union Fire Co., Medford, NJ Posted by: Don Penven, Technical Support Group Flammable Materials The term “Flammable Liquid” or “Flammable Solid” are misnomers. Liquids and solids do not burn. Rather, the flames we see are the result of the temperature reaching a...
  • Arson Investigation: How Investigators Solve Arson Cases – Part 1

    By: Administrator
    Arson investigators face considerable problems when investigating a fire scene. Unlike the majority of crime scenes frequently encountered by criminal investigators, a fire scene offers a completely different set of problems. Physical evidence generated by the perpetrator of crimes of homicide, robbery, rape and burglary is altogether different from what may be expected at a fire scene. Most of the physical evidence generated by the arsonist is often consumed by the fire. An arson investigation...