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Accidental or Incendiary?

NCJ Number
R D Fitch; E A Porter
Date Published
240 pages
This volume presents an overview and step-by-step instructions for conducting investigations of fires of all types and determining whether a fire was accidental or the result of arson.
The text is intended for investigators who, in many cases, are not specialists in fires and notes that arson squads, insurance companies, fire prevention bureaus, and statisticians will read the investigator's report to learn how the fire started. The discussion emphasizes the complexity of investigating a fire and advises investigators to arrive at the fire scene as soon as possible. It explains the initial actions of the investigator, common causes of accidental fires, other types of fires, and the reconstruction of the fire scene. It also explains safety precautions for investigators, including protective clothing and equipment and recognition of hazardous materials. Additional sections discuss issues and investigative techniques related to accidental fires set by small children, fires set by pyromaniacs, the use of timing devices in arson, juvenile arsonists, fires in vacant buildings, and fires in historic and landmark buildings. Further sections focus on motor vehicle fires, the use of fuses, aircraft and boat fires, field and brush fires, trash fires, electrical fires, and false alarms. Other sections focus on evidence collection when deaths occur in a fire, State laws relating to burning and arson, scientific investigation, and results of experiments conducted by the authors and others to assist investigators in understanding visual clues regarding fire scenes. Photographs; chapter summary lists; glossary, index; and appended list of fire causes and technical information


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