Fire Investigation Lab

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Detection Of Fire Accelerants Fires can be set in a number of ways. Setting a fire does not require the use of an accelerant, but it frequently exists in arson and accidents as well. Its important to note, flammable liquids and accelerants are also not always one and the same and can vary in type. The vapor from accelerants such as a flammable liquid supports the flame over the material, which can be either easy or very difficult to detect. The accelerant can leave visible physical traces, or the trace of the chemical property is left behind. It is then the chemists’ responsibility to identify what the accelerant is before it can be positively identified as probative in the fire. During a fire investigation, the method of discovering the…show more content…
This allows chemists to obtain the compounds from the sample material for identification by matching results for the presence of an accelerant or its remnants. Samples of the accelerant residue signify the nature of the fire considerably if it is inexplicable based on the location where it was gathered. Questionable substances may be the explanation when suggesting the source and cause of the fire. In any case, until labs can verify the identity of the residue, it is unclear what role it plays in a fire scenario (Icove&DeHaan, p. 560-562). There is no doubt that accelerant detection is a valuable tool in forensic fire investigation. It’s important to note that both techniques require a high level of training and accuracy. Samples of residue and debris must be handled with great care during the investigation and packaging for delivery to lab technicians. It’s easy to distinguish accelerant dogs and accelerant sensors but their obvious differences end there.
Biology is truly an amazing alternative to technology, and is a valued method in the field of forensic fire investigation including many others. I was truly amazed to learn how the field of criminal justice can take advantage of evolution and benefit from it through training. Simply put, when technology fails, you can trust a dog’s sense to do what it is biologically capable of. Accelerant detection methods are a valuable tool in fire scene
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