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Arson Offences CIB 012 > Investigation > Flashcards

Flashcards in Investigation Deck (17)
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External Examination

Take into Account:

1. Adjoining premises which often reveal:

a. Accelerant containers

b. Attempts at forced entry

c. Broken windows

d. Forced doors

2. Nearby alleyways, driveways, streets

3. The yards and outbuildings of the fire effected property - could reveal contents missing

4. The periphery of the structure itself - could show property run down/business struggling

5. What distance debris were scattered, particularly if drums or cylinders have


External Examination

Damaged Structure itself may reveal:

1. Jemmy marks or other signs of forced entry on windows or doors

2. Window glass broken before the fire was ignited

3. Burn patterns above doors and windows and ā€œVā€ shaped burn patterns on external cladding


Preliminary Internal Examination Points

A slow walk through the premises from the area of least damage to that of most damage, taking note of:

Owner/occupier attitude during walk through


Missing family photographs, furniture, personal items
Lack of clothing in wardrobes and drawers
Position of clothes if not in wardrobe or drawer
Open filing cabinets or missing files
Forced entry into an empty till
Rifled premises
Low stock levels in commercial premises

Building itself

Building areas in need of repair
Signs of hardship (empty flats/shops)
Presence of accelerant containers or trails
Separate unrelated seats of fire
Unusual odours
Burn patterns


Detailed Internal Examination - Fire Investigator

Smoke deposits and burn patterns
Removal of fire debris

Spalling (The cracking or chipping of concrete as a result of being heated nad cooled
Damage to wall studs
Skirting boards damage
Elimination of false low burns

Damage to windows sills and door edges
Soot deposits on window glass and craze patterns

Damage to roofing timbers

Floor arears burned through
Under floor inspection


At conclusion of this examination fire investigator will be able to determine:

1. Area of origin

2. Point of origin

3. The seat of the fire


In Wilful Cases, look for:

Evidence of accelerants - uneven burning, multiple seats
Smell of petrol or chemicals

Furniture rearranged to create a fire base
Hindering access
Intentional removal of valuable property

Skylights, windows open to create a draught
Evidence of tampering with smoke/sprinkler systems
Heater, soldering iron or other electrical appliances left on

Uneven burning
Unusual rapid spread or intensity of the fire
Multiple seats of fire



Use Arson kits or suitable containers

Take control samples:
- Charred timber and ashes from the seat of the fire for examination and comparison
- Any accelerants found near the scene
- Soil from the surrounding area


In determining the seat of the fire the fire investigator will consider:

Witness reports
When did they first see the fire and where were they
The reports and opinions of other specialists

The presence of starting devices

The state of the fire at the time
The colour of the flames and smoke
The direction of the spread
The wind, speed, direction and weather
The severity of the damage
The depth of charring


Possible motives

Crime Concealment



Insurance Company Inquires

1. The services of an assessor, to value the building and the damage

2. Particulars of the insurance on the premises and their contents

3. Copies of insurance Policies

4. Information on prior claims

5. Details of any, recent increase in cover or over insurance

a. These may indicate the motive


Conferences must be held during the scene examination to assist with:

1. Assessing information obtained

2. Reconstructing

3. Establishing possible motives

4. Identifying suspects

5. Planning further enquiries


Purpose of a Conference

The conference forms the basis of your scene examination and risk assessment planning

Plan to be agreed upon by all.


Who attends Conference

1. O/C CIB

2. Crime Scene Co-ordinator

3. Fire investigation Liaison officer

4. O/C Investigation

5. Investigating officers

6. Specialist fire investigator

7. Police Photographer

8. Fingerprint technician, SOCO

9. Other specialists as required


Following conference you should appoint:

1. Exhibits officer

2. A crime scene co-ordinator

3. Scene examiner

4. Advise the Fire Investigation Liaison Officer


Roles of each service

Fire Investigation Liason Officer (FILO's)
- Police Role
- Attend fires with serious injury or death
- Coordinate/ maintain relationships

Police investigation team
- conduct criminal investigation, coronial enquiry
- protection, collection and recording of forensic evidence

Specialist Fire Investigators (SFI)
- FENZ role
-Experienced fire firefighter/ receive training.

Fire Service Investigation Liaison Officers(FSILO)
- FENZ role
- Arrange SFI to attend scene


Scene Control

1. FENZ has authority of scene while fire in play
2. FENZ to advice Police if suspicious, serious injury or death.
3. Police to seek authority for handover from FENZ
4. Handover only after all risks eliminated, isolated or minimized.
5. All agencies will consult with each other to develop investigation plan
6. Investigation plan will advice house investigation will proceed and role of each agency.


Investigation Steps

Information Gathering
Scene Examination
Debris Examination
Product Examination
Analysis and Testing
Opinion formulation
Reporting data and opinions