9: Fire Investigation
Published:30 Jun 2016
Fires pose a risk to both life and property, and even small fires can have unintended and serious consequences, so determining the cause of a fire can be very important for either forensic or fire safety reasons. Forensic fire investigations are carried out to determine whether a fire was deliberately started and to recover evidence that might be relevant to a criminal or civil enquiry or a prosecution. Agencies other than those providing forensic services may also investigate the cause of fires as part of fire prevention or fire safety activities, and as part of a first response to many fire-related incidents. This chapter covers basic combustion theory and then describes the processes involved in fire scene investigations and laboratory examinations from the perspective of a forensic fire investigator.