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Arson. Chapter 7. Determining Where & How. Point of Origin Most damage V Pattern Eyewitnesses. Accident vs Incendiary. Search for Accelerants and/or Ignitors Accelerants Almost always overused Collect in areas that won’t burn

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Arson

Arson

Chapter 7


Determining where how

Determining Where & How

  • Point of Origin

    • Most damage

    • V Pattern

    • Eyewitnesses


Accident vs incendiary

Accident vs Incendiary

  • Search for Accelerants and/or Ignitors

  • Accelerants

    • Almost always overused

    • Collect in areas that won’t burn

    • Discovered using an arson dog or a Vapor Trace Analyzer (VTA)


Tools in the field

Tools in the Field

Arson DogVTA


Ignitors

Ignitors

  • Most common is a match.

  • The striking surface on matchboxes is typically composed of powdered glass and red phosphorus

  • The match head is primarily composed of potassium chlorate


In the lab

In The Lab…

  • Once collected, accelerants are usually analyzed by a Gas Chromatographer – Mass Spectometer (GC-MS)

    • Gas Chromatographer breaks the accelerant down into its simplest chemicals

    • Mass Spectrometer identifies those chemicals to ID the accelerant


Gc ms

GC-MS


Searching for victims

Searching for Victims

  • Asphyxia

    • Normal CO levels in non-smoker are <5%

    • Approx. 5% in smokers

    • House fires can reach 45-90% CO levels

    • At 20% CO levels, dizziness & confusion

    • At 35% CO levels, weakness & loss of coordination

    • At 50%+ CO levels, loss of consciousness or death


Searching for victims1

Searching for Victims

  • Most bodies aren’t cremated in a house fire.

    • House fires only reach about 500-2,000oF and are put out in less than an hour from starting

    • Cremating a body requires 1,500oF for 2 hours


Searching for victims2

Searching for Victims

  • The medical examiner will look for two things to identify death by asphyxiation

    • 1. Soot in mouth, throat, and lungs

    • 2. Carboxyhemoglobin

      • The CO will bind to hemoglobin in blood.

      • Blood, organs, and muscles will turn bright red as a result.


Carboxyhemoglobin

Carboxyhemoglobin


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