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What four matters do the Fire service investigator liase with Police investigator?

Handover of the fire scene.
Access to the fire scene
Process of examination and investigstion
Identification and collection of evidence at the fire scene.


In determining the seat of the fire, the fire investigator will consider..?

Witness reports
When they first noticed the fire and where they were at the time
The state of the fire at the time
Wind direction and speed
The direction of spread
The colour of flames and smoke
Severity of damage
Depth of charring
The presence of starting devices
Reports and opinions of other specialists.


List examples of carelessness that might result in a fire

Misusing electricity
Children playing with matches, lighters etc
Burning off paint
Vagrants lighting fires
Welding and other industrial processes
Leaving clothes near heating
Wrapping ashes in paper
Using or storing flammable materials
Burning rubbish
Using domestic or camp fires
Leaving a stove or heater on
Unattended fat while cooking


List materials used to start a fire?

Readily available combustible materials - rubbish
Molotov cocktails
Chemical igniters
Timing devices
Electric matches
Electrical apparatus
Matches and cigarettes


What are Police responsibilities at a fire scene and investigation?

Conduct the criminal investigation or coronal enquiry

Undertake responsibility for the protection, collection, and recording of forensic evidence

The collection and removal of material from a fire crime scene will only be done by Police or other agencies with the authority to remove evidence.

The preservation, analysis and subsequent disposition of any such material is the responsibility of Police or other agency.


Powers of the person in charge of the Fire service at fire site under S42 Fire and Emergency Act 2017

(a) Enter any land, building or structure.
(b) breaks into any building or structure that may be on fire or otherwise endangered or that us near the emergency
(c) take or send any equipment or machine required to be used into, through, or upon any land, building, or structure.
(d) remove from any land, building, or structure that is on fire or otherwise endangered or that is near the emergency, any flammable, combustible, explosive, or dangerous material found in the building or structure.
(e) cause any building or structure that is on fire or otherwise endangered, or that is adjacent to or in the vicinity of any building or structure that is on fire or otherwise endangered, to be pulled down or shored up (either in whole or in part)
(f) cause any building or structure to be pulled down or shored up (either in whole or in part) at the time of the emergency or within a reasonable time afterwards.


What are indicators that a fire has been deliberately lit?

Multiple seats of fire
Signs windows/skylights were opened to create a draught.
Removal of valuable property.
Evidence of intentional interference/tampering with alarm/sprinkler system
Evidence of explosives
Misdirecting fire fighters
Evidence of accelerants: smell, traces
Signs that an electrical appliance has been left on (heater, soldering iron)
Unusual rapid spread or intensity of fire


What is the purpose of a conference?

Identify suspects
Establishing possible motives
Assessing the information obtained
Planning further enquiries


What should he done after a conference?

Appoint exhibits officer
Appoint a crime scene coordinator if required
Advise the fire investigator
Appoint a scribe
Appoint a scene examiner


What are the duties of a scene guard at an arson?

Watch for suspects
Locate witnesses among onlookers and passersby
Report all matters of significance to the OC investigstion/scene coordinator
Prevent further fire or damage
Exclude and control onlookers, property owners and other interested parties.
Avoid interfering with scene
Prevent looting
Preserve evidence


What are the differences between a gas explosion and an explosive that has been set?

Gas explosions cover a wider area
Explosives cause cratering
Medical evidence (suspect or victim may have inhaled gas prior to explosion)


What should you look for during an external examination?

Signs business appears to be struggling.
Contents of outbuildings missing
Accelerant containers
Property rundown.


What should you look for during preliminary internal examination?

Forced entry into an empty till
Open filing cabinets or missing files
Owner/occupier attitude during walk-through
Low stock
Signs of hardship
Separate unrelated seats of fire
Building areas in need or repair.
Missing family photos, furniture or other personal items


What will the fire investigator be able to determine at the end of the examination?

Area of origin
Point of origin
The seat of the fire


What should be considered regarding best method of protection?

Inhalation of toxic substances
Ingestion of particles
Injection from sharp objects
Airbourne dusts, particles etc
Items falling from above


What are characteristics of damage caused by explosives?

Spread of debris
Shredding of materials
A smell peculiar to the exploded material (almonds)
An overlay of dust
Shrapnel marks


Initial action fire not involving explosives.

Briefly interview informant
Secure/control scene
Initial interview fire safety officer/OC of first fire appliance
Interview incident controller
Ensure safety of the scene before an initial conference
Regroup and hold a briefing conference if fire deemed suspicious
Confer and determine plan of action
Contact comms, sitrep and request specialists (photographer, SOCO)


What should be noted during detailed internal examination with fire investigator?

Smoke deposits and burn patterns
Soot deposits on window glass and craze patterns
Damage to wall studs
Damage to roofing timbers
Damage to window sills and door edges
Floor area burned througb
Skirting board damage
Under floor inspection
Removal of fire debris
Elemination of false low burns


How is the seat of the fire determined?

Witness reports - when they first noticed fire, where they were at time, the state of the fire at the time.
Wind direction and speed
The colour of the flames and smoke
The Severity of the damage
The depth of charring
The presence of starting devices
The reports and opinions of other specialists.


When must the fire service notify police re a fire?

The fire results in serious injury or death
The fire is considered suspicious


When are specialist fire investigators involved in an investigation?

Fires where fatalities occur
Serious life threatening injuries have occurred
Structure fire where cause is suspicious or cannot be determined
Significant fire spread across a property boundary
Fires in buildings where fire safety equipment has failed or underperformed.


What are Police responsibilities at an arson?

Conduct the criminal investigation or coronal enquiry
Undertake responsibility for the protection, collection and recording of forensic evidence.


What information should you obtain from the insurance company?

Value of building and damage particulars of the insurance on the premises.
Information on former clients
Contents copies of their proposals
Recent increase in cover


Exhibits process?

Photograph, label and preserve exhibits in containers
Use approve arson kits if available, otherwise use suitable containers such as unused paint tins.
Take control samples:
- from charred timber, ashes or debris from seat of fire for examination and comparison with samples from other points.
- any accelerants found near scene
- soil from the surrounding area


Initial action fire involving explosives?

Consider secondary device at or nearby scene.
Do not handle or interfere with anything unfamiliar.
Do not use cell phones, radios or the like
Evacuate scene at least 100 metres.
If IED located, immediately obtain assistance of IED operator
Inform national bomb data Centre at PNHQ
Regular sitreps to national bomb data Centre.


Steps for identifying suspects?

Information from informants and witnesses
Information from fire crews on people who regularly attend fires
Media response
Police resources (Intel, youth aid)
Enquiries at penal institutions, psychiatric hospitals, rehab centres and schools.
Circumstances of the fire.


Possible suspects to consider?

Owner or occupier for insurance fraud.
Employees to cover theft, forgery or false pretenses
A criminal to cover the traces of an offence or to intimidate witnesses.
An aggrieved person suffering jealousy, hatred, rage etc.
A pyromaniac
A pupil or ex-pupil.
A mamber of fire service
Business competitor


Suspect enquiries?

ID suspects.
Investigate suspects thoroughly and according to priority.
List other possible suspects.
Consider surveillance
Enquiries to establish suspect's opportunity, motive, intent, connection with scene and offence etc.
Execute a search Warrant in presence of suspect.
Interview suspect
Consider photo montage or ID parade.
Advise supervisor
Consider arrest
Complete 4C and prosecution file
Complete enquiries to corroborste/negate suspect's explanation.


Questions to ask the owner?

When premises secured and by whom.
Whether he or she knows the cause of the fire
Actions leading up to the fire
Type of business
The details of any suspects and insurance.


Evidence of wilful causes of fire?

Multiple seats of fire
Signs windows or skylights were opened to create a draught.
Evidence of intentional interference (tampering with alarms etc)
Evidence of explosives
Evidence of accelerants
Traces in debris
Signs that a heater, soldering iron or other electrical appliances have been left on
Unusual rapid spread or intensity of fire.