The difficulty of determining whether arson has occurred arises because fire often destroys the key evidence of its origin. Many fires are caused by defective equipment, such as shorting of faulty electrical circuits.
What are the reason why arson investigation is very difficult and complex?
Evidence of arson is nearly impossible to preserve. Not only will the fire likely destroy physical proof but the water and chemical foam used to put out the blaze can also destroy potential evidence. Because of this, an arson investigator’s most important witnesses are the firefighters that first arrive on the scene.
Why are arson investigations difficult?
Arson is difficult to investigate for three main reasons: The arsonist can plan out the arson well in advance and bring all the tools needed to commit the act with him/her. The arsonist does not need to be present at the time of the act. The fire itself destroys evidence tying the arsonist to the crime.
Why is fire investigation one of the hardest?
Fire investigation is one of the most difficult of the forensic sciences to practice. … During a fire investigation, an entire process must be undertaken just to determine if the case involves arson or not. The difficulty of determining whether an arson fire has occurred or not, arises because fires destroy evidence.
How are arson crimes investigated?
Fire and arson investigators examine the physical attributes of a fire scene and identify and collect physical evidence from the scene. This evidence is then analyzed to help determine if the cause of the fire was accidental or deliberate. … Improve ways to detect, analyze and identify accelerants, such as gasoline.
What are the 4 key elements of fire investigation?
With few exceptions, the proper methodology for a fire or explosion investigation is to first determine and establish the origin(s), then investigate the cause: circumstances, conditions, or agencies that brought the ignition source, fuel, and oxidant together.
What do arson investigators look for?
Investigators use a combination of crime scene investigation, interview, and interrogation techniques and knowledge of fire science to inspect scenes. They look for evidence of the use of accelerants, such as gasoline and other flammable materials, and work to identify the source, starting point and spread of fires.
What are the 3 elements of arson?
FORENSIC SCIENCES | Arson Residues
It can be defined as the deliberate and malicious burning of property having three main elements. First, there has been a burning of property. Second, the burning is incendiary in origin, and finally, the burning was started with the intent of destroying the property.
What is the first step in a fire investigation?
The first step in a fire investigation is the preliminary scene examination/size-up. For best results, a trained fire investigator should be notified about and respond to serious fires or possible arson fires immediately after fire apparatus is dispatched.
What is the purpose of fire investigation?
The purpose of a fire investigation is to determine how the fire started and why the fire behaved the way it did. Data collected through fire investigations is a key element in addressing a community’s fire problem.
Who investigates fire?
ATF Certified Fire Investigators (CFIs) are special agents with highly specialized training in investigating arson-related crimes. They rapidly deploy to fire scenes to identify, collect and analyze arson-related evidence, and act as the lead criminal investigator for field operations.
What is evidence of arson?
There are many physical clues that may suggest arson is a fire cause. They include: Burn pattern: multiple origins or unusual origin location. Presence/absence, and/or condition of ignition key. Ignition lock/switch condition.
How do arsonists start fires?
Professional arsonists will often set multiple ignition points connected by a fire-spreading trailer such as a flammable liquid, smokeless gunpowder, rags, twisted ropes or newspaper, waxed paper or even fabric softener strips.
What are the two key criteria for investigating arson crime scenes?
The investigator should: Identify a distinct origin (location where the fire started) and an obvious fire cause (ignition source, first fuel ignited, and circumstances of the event that brought the two together). Conduct a scene examination in accordance with NFPA 921 and other guidelines.
Who is most likely to commit arson?
Findings revealed that most serial arsonists were young white males; 58.7 percent of fires were set by offenders before 18 years of age, and 79.7 percent were set before 29 years of age.
Is arson a violent crime?
Arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning of the property of another. It is considered a violent crime and is treated as a felony in most states.