FIRE INVESTIGATION - kentfiretraining.org

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FIRE INVESTIGATION
THERE IS TRUTH AND
TRUTH DEMANDS RESPECT
Fire Investigation Unit
Investigators
Capt. Eric Pedersen
Rusty Olsen
Fritz Wininger
Josh Rogers
Mike Lee
COURSE OBJECTIVES
z TO FAMILIARIZE THE STUDENT WITH
THE BACKGROUND AND DUTIES OF THE
FIRE INVESTIGATION UNIT.
z TO BUILD A PARTNERSHIP THAT WILL
CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEPARTMENT
EFFORT TO CONDUCT THOROUGH
COMPLETE INVESTIGATIONS.
INVESTIGATION GOALS
z TO CONDUCT COMPLETE, ACCURATE,
TRUTH SEEKING INVESTIGATIONS.
OBJECTIVES
z Reduce the occurrence of accidental fires
z Reduce cases of arson fires
z Reduce incidents of illegal explosive
manufacture and use
What does it take?
Successful Investigations come from a
result of teamwork between Investigators,
Firefighters, Police, Prosecutors, Insurance
Companies, members of the community
and other agencies.
You are a part of the Investigation Team!
Duties of Investigators
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Conduct Scene exams
Identify causes of accidental fires
Identify cases of Incendiary fires
Conduct criminal Investigations
Prepare cases to be filed for prosecution
Job Requirements
NFPA 1033
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Age 18 (21 for commission)
High School Diploma
Background check
Knowledge of current methodology
Investigation Priorities
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Arson fires where death occurs
Fatal Fires
Arson with Injury
Pattern of set fires
Other Arson fires
Large loss Accidental
Accidental with Injury
Priorities
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Commercial fires
Residential
Vehicle
Nuisance fires
Juveniles Setting Fires (non criminal)
Call out criteria
Does it appear suspicious?
Is damage 10,000 or more?
Is there a death or Injury?
Have accidental causes been eliminated?
Multiple fires?
Odor of ignitable liquids?
Similar fires in the area?
Call out criteria
Four Criteria
Death or Injury
Dollar Loss $10,000
Incendiary
Undetermined or story doesn’t match
Criteria for Vehicles
Does the story fit?
Is the cause known?
Is the vehicle being driven?
Did the fire originate in the engine compartment?
Is the vehicle totally destroyed?
Procedures for call-out
Three shifts are currently covered with a 48/96
shift investigator. The other days to include Kelly,
sick, and vacation days are covered by the Captain
working Modified Detroit.
Procedures for call-out
Recently added to SeaTac CAD. On dispatch for
Suspicious fire, Residential Fire, Arson,
Commercial fire etc.. FM71 will be on your
MDC or CAD printout. FM71 is the on duty
investigator, either on duty or Standby, work cell
phone number is next to our name. If not
dispatched use UR K9 or Who FM71. We are also
FM33.
Investigative Functions
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Scene coordination
Documentation- photography, diagramming, note taking
Interviewing / Interrogations
Examining the Scene
Evidence collection and preservation
Safety Assessment
FIU Vehicle
FIU Supervisors Vehicle
Origin and Cause
In order to determine the cause of the fire the area
and point of origin need to be determined.
Area of origin: The general area within the fire scene
where the fire began.
Point of origin: the specific location where the initial
fuel and heat source came together to start the fire.
Cause: The sequence of events that allowed the fuel
and heat source to come together.
What not to do!!
What not to Do!!!!!!
What not to do!!!!!!
Types of Fire Cause
z Accidental-does not involve a deliberate act to ignite or
spread fire into an area where the fire should not be.
z Natural-caused without direct human intervention, such as
lightning, wind, earthquake and the like.
z Incendiary-deliberately ignited under circumstances which
the person knows that the fire should not be ignited.
z Undetermined –
Sometimes the cause can not be determined.
Accidental Fires
z Combustibles too close to a heat source.
z Improper construction such as flue
clearance, deteriorated chimney mortar.
z Electrical- overloaded circuits, improper
protection, faulty equipment.
z Kitchen fires ?
Incendiary Indicators
z Multiple uncommunicated fires
z Trailers
z Unexplained presence of ignitable liquids
in area of origin.
z Remote locations with obstructed view
z Removal of contents prior to the fire
z Absence of personal items
Indicators
Commercial fires
Residential Fires
Apartment Fires
Vehicle Fires
Boat Fires
Arson Indicators
Water Damage
Arson Indicators
z There are numerous conditions and
circumstances readily apparent at various
fire scenes that may indicate an
incendiary origin for the fire. These can
be extremely valuable to the overall
success of the Investigation.
General Arson Indicators
z Origin in specific room may indicate
motive.
z Evidence of other crimes.
z Previous fires at location.
z Structural damage prior to the fire.
z Blocked Access
Owner Occupant
Indicators
z Recent changes in marital status,
finances, or employment.
z Recent changes to insurance.
z Insurance policy in hand.
z Personal items or important possessions
removed or substituted prior to the fire
z Missing pets
Arson Indicators
Residential
Prior police activity at residence
Property for sale for extended time
Vacant property
No electrical service to residence
Absence of appliances or personal
belongings
z Fire reported soon after occupants exit
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Arson Indicators
Commercial
z Decrease in revenue
z New or vigorous competition
z Construction of new roads or business
complexes
z Old deteriorating buildings
z Building for sale or lease for extended
period.
z Removal or substitution of contents prior
to the fire.
Vehicle Indicators
z Vehicle fire discovered prior to owner
reporting stolen.
z Vehicle rebuilt or purchased as salvage.
z Totally burned in a secluded location.
z Missing equipment.
z Recently insured comprehensive.
z Recent attempts to sell.
z History of mechanical problems.
Fire Scene Tactics
z Take photos of the crowd and obtain
information of anyone taking pictures or
video.
z Look for bystanders who are overly calm
or appear overly excited/happy.
Fire Scene Tactics
z Look for bystanders who have singed hair
or smell like ignitable liquids.
z Look for intoxicated bystanders.
First Responder Duties
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Secure the Scene
Gather Information
Protect Evidence
Observation Reports
Fatal Fire Scene Security
Scene Security
z Physically control access to the scene by
taping off the involved and surrounding
area.
z Establish a perimeter
z Deny access to everyone not actively
involved in mitigating the emergency.
(this includes occupants, bystanders and
sometimes even chiefs)
Protecting Evidence
z The best way to protect evidence is the
same as the best way to effect rescue……
PUT THE FIRE OUT!
z Consider how and where you apply water.
z Remember what you
touched,broke,moved,opened,closed,remo
ved.
Fatal Fire Scenes
Fatal fires are treated as crime scenes until proven
otherwise. After controlling the fire the most
important task is to preserve the scene for the
investigation. Do not move or cover the body. If
the body will be further damaged by the fire it may
be moved with IC permission. Establish a primary
and secondary perimeter and enforce the perimeter
with Police Presence if necessary.
Locard’s Law
Locard’s law states that everyone who enters a
scene, brings something in and takes something
away when they leave.
Be mindful of how your actions can change the
outcome of the investigation.
Spoliation of Evidence
Spoliation is the accidental or intentional
destruction or damage to evidence of fire cause that
may be used later in a third party subrogation.
You can be held civilly liable for destroying or
damaging evidence if you exceed the scope of your
employment.
Spoliation and
Contamination
Spoliation can occur when you take apart the
dishwasher to see if it really caused the fire.
contamination can occur when you refuel your
chainsaw in the center of that interesting burn pattern
on the living room carpet. Spoliation can occur
when you take that melted coffee maker back to the
station because it would look good at your next Pub
Ed presentation. Contamination can occur when
you pass around that cool zippo lighter that you
found so everyone can check it out.
Gathering Information
z Witness information include Name, DOB,
Middle Initial, Address, Phone Numbers.
Observe vehicles noting license plates and
types of vehicles. Observe actions of
occupants, witnesses, and bystanders.
Listen to what people are saying. Write it
down. Don’t ask questions.
Gathering Information
z Photograph when the opportunity
presents itself.
z Take pictures of the fire, the
crowd,anything unusual.
z Complete a fire observation report.
Conclusion
z Do not become a victim of tunnel vision at
a fire.
z Be observant of your surroundings and
your actions and be able to give the
investigator a report on what you saw and
what you did when you first arrived.
Juvy Fire Setters
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