Fire Investigation Problem Solving Techniques Fire Origin and Cause ipsi dixit “It is because I say it is”

I. First impressions A. How many first impressions do you have 1. Attorneys 2. District Attorneys 3. Civil Attorneys 4. Judges 5. Jury Credibility 1. How often can you lose credibility and still be credible 2. Your opinion is on trial Terms and concepts 1. The foundation of the fire investigation 2. How well do you know them? 3. Can you explain them in understandable language? What are fire patterns? Is there a difference between fire science and fire dynamics? Describe heat release rate. Define ignition. What is autoignition? What are the two basic types of fire patterns? Can a solid be an ignitable liquid? What is heat of combustion? Do you meet the NFPA 1033 Standard for Fire Investigator? What are fire patterns? 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed, 3.3.58 a. Visible or measurable physical effects that remain after a fire Is there a difference between fire science and fire dynamics? 1. NFPA 921 2004 ED 3.3.61 a. Fire Science b. That body of knowledge concerning the study of fire and related subjects and their interaction with people, structures and the environment 2. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 3.3.56 a. Fire Dynamics b. Is the detailed examination of chemistry, engineering disciplines of fluid mechanics, fire science, and heat transference which will interact influencing fire behavior

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Fire behavior introduction A.

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Fire Behavior - Voir Dire A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. A.

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Describe heat release rate. 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 3.3.87 2. The rate at which heat energy is generated by burning Define ignition 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 3.3.92 2. The process of initiating self-sustained combustion What is autoignition? 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 3.3.12 2. Initiation of combustion by heat but without a spark or flame What are the two basic types of fire patterns? 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 6.4 2. Two basic types of patterns a. Movement b. Intensity Can a solid be an ignitable liquid? 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 3.3.91 2. Any liquid or liquid phase of any material that is capable of fueling a fire What is the heat of combustion? 1. NFPA 921 2004 Ed 7.2.3.2 2. Total amount of heat energy produced during combustion Which fire patterns or collection of fire patterns establishes the cause of the fire 1. None Do you meet the NFPA 1033 Standard for Fire Investigator? 1. NFPA 1033, 2003 Ed a. Training b. Demonstrated skills 2. How do you prove you meet the standard a. Curriculum Vitae Ignition Material first ignited Heat source Mechanism that brought the two together Ignition temperature of fuel of first ignition Did heat source have sufficient energy to cause ignition 1. Time 2. Temperature Pattern development 1. Plume development following ignition a. What does it do 2. Pattern analysis Pre and post flashover Pattern development 1. Movement 2. Intensity Other types of fire patterns 1. Analysis/Interpretation Ventilation

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Fire Behavior A. B. C. D. E. F.

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1. Entrainment 2. Heated air movement Heat release rate Live vs. dead load Fuel composition 1. Cellulosic 2. Synthetic 7 Steps in organized approach to fire/explosion investigation Organized approach to fire investigation Historically fires have been investigated in this manner however term Scientific Method not generally used until NFPA 921 NFPA 921 1. Guide for Fire/Explosion Investigations 2. Peer review document -"standard of care" for fire/explosion investigation process Users Manual to NFPA 921 1. Guide for Fire/Explosion Investigations 2. A collaborative effort between NFPA and IMI to provide a sourcebook that expands on 921 Kirk's Fire Investigation 1. 6th Edition written by Dr. John DeHaan 2. Overview of fire/explosion investigations -follows Scientific Methodology Kirk's Fire Investigation Instructors Manual 1. Icove, Blocher, DeHaan 2. Kirk's Fire Investigation 5th Edition Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction 1. Icove and DeHaan 2. Use of science in fire scene reconstruction Ignition Handbook 1. Dr. Vytennis Babrauskis 2. Detailed study of ignition components. Principles of Fire Behavior 1. Dr. James G. Quintiere 2. The science and behavior of fire Combating Arson for Profit 1. Icove, Wherry, Schroder 2. Resources for investigating arson for profit fires Fire and Arson Scene Evidence 1. US Dept. Justice 2. NCJ 181584

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Scientific method of fire investigation A. B. C.

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Investigative resources A.

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National Institute for Standards and Technology 1. NIST.gov 2. Fire research

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Fire patterns A. B. C. D. Visible or measurable physical effects that remain after a fire Intensity patterns 1 Caused by increased air or heat Movement patterns 1. Caused by movement of fire over surface Identical pattern development caused by 1. Low heat over a long period of time 2. High heat for a much shorter period of time Analysis of fire patterns 1. Understanding fire dynamics 2. Three modes of heat transfer in pattern development a. Wood char i. Depth and appearance b. Dark Red Flames/Heavy black smoke c. Plume generated patterns d. Ventilation generated patterns e. Melting of materials f. Hot gas layer generated patterns g. Low damage h. Horizontal penetration i. Spalling j. Rapid build-up of heat/Even burn k. Glass reaction I. Heat/smoke levels m. Collapsed furniture springs Cornerstone of cause determination Must be able to meet requirements of an expert defined in Federal Rules Of Evidence Rule 702, 12-01-2000 Revision 1. If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, If (1 ) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts in this case NFPA 921 is getting increased attention as a standard methodology as courts are recognizing it as an authoritative text Tests that can be applied to expert testimony

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Expert Opinion A. B.

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Daubert vs. Merrill Dow a. Whether a theory or technique can be (and has been tested) b. Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication c. Whether in respect to a particular technique, there is a high known or potential rate of error d. Whether the theory or technique enjoys general acceptance within a relevant scientific community What does future hold? 1. Increasing emphasis on rule 702 2. Trial judges act as gatekeepers to exclude unreliable testimony Benfield Case 1 Expert performed no tests 2. Expert took no samples 3. Expert could not explain methods of ruling out other causes 4. Expert not familiar with testimony of other witnesses 5. Judge excluded origin and cause testimony Area of origin 1 .What do you have that groves this is where fire started 2. Proof vs. speculation and conjecture Material first ignited 1. Cellulosic 2. Synthetic Heat source 1. Open flame/other sources 2. Heat source application 3. Sufficient heat for sufficient duration to bring material first ignited to ignition 4. What provable evidence of heat source for ignition a. Photographic b. Physical evidence i. Type and meaning ii. Tests iii. Comparison samples iv. Control samples v. Cross contamination vi. Spoliation -civil cases c. Photographic evidence i. Does it prove origin and cause d. Statements i. Confirm and clarify investigators findings (i) If so how? (ii) If not why?

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Fire origin conclusion A.

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Fire cause conclusion Accidental 1. Until proven otherwise B. Incendiary 1. Clear and convincing proof C. Undetermined D. Can conclusion withstand a planned cross examination either by a more experience investigator or a courtroom setting Fire investigators role A. Training requirements 1. Fire investigation courses a. IAAI local chapter b. Local task force c. IAAI web training Support from agency 1 Training 2. Equipment 3. On job training 4. Expectations 5. Duty assignment 6. Job assignment a. Origin and cause b. Complete investigation c. Criminal follow-up Preparation for first investigation 1. Minimum standard for fire investigator found in NFPA 1033 a. Have you met the standard i. If not what's next? 2. How do you meet all of the standards and still get job done 3. Are you totally familiar with job requirements, equipment, and training requirements 4. Do you have a Curriculum Vitae (CV) prepared and is it up to date A.

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