FIRE INVESTIGATION THERE IS TRUTH AND TRUTH DEMANDS RESPECT
Fire Investigation Unit Investigators Capt. Eric Pedersen Rusty Olsen Fritz Wininger Josh Rogers Mike Lee
COURSE OBJECTIVES • TO FAMILIARIZE THE STUDENT WITH THE BACKGROUND AND DUTIES OF THE FIRE INVESTIGATION UNIT. • TO BUILD A PARTNERSHIP THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEPARTMENT EFFORT TO CONDUCT THOROUGH COMPLETE INVESTIGATIONS.
INVESTIGATION GOALS • TO CONDUCT COMPLETE, ACCURATE, TRUTH SEEKING INVESTIGATIONS.
OBJECTIVES • Reduce the occurrence of accidental fires • Reduce cases of arson fires • Reduce incidents of illegal explosive manufacture and use
What does it take? Successful Investigations come from a result of teamwork between Investigators, Firefighters, Police, Prosecutors, Insurance Companies, members of the community and other agencies. You are a part of the Investigation Team!
Duties of Investigators • Conduct Scene exams • Identify causes of accidental fires • Identify cases of Incendiary fires • Conduct criminal Investigations • Prepare cases to be filed for prosecution
Job RequirementsNFPA 1033 • Age 18 (21 for commission) • High School Diploma • Background check • Knowledge of current methodology
Investigation Priorities • Arson fires where death occurs • Fatal Fires • Arson with Injury • Pattern of set fires • Other Arson fires • Large loss Accidental • Accidental with Injury
Priorities • Commercial fires • Residential • Vehicle • Nuisance fires • Juveniles Setting Fires (non criminal)
Call out criteria Does it appear suspicious? Is damage 10,000 or more? Is there a death or Injury? Have accidental causes been eliminated? Multiple fires? Odor of ignitable liquids? Similar fires in the area?
Call out criteria Four Criteria Death or Injury Dollar Loss $10,000 Incendiary Undetermined or story doesn’t match
Criteria for Vehicles Does the story fit? Is the cause known? Is the vehicle being driven? Did the fire originate in the engine compartment? Is the vehicle totally destroyed?
Procedures for call-out Three shifts are currently covered with a 48/96 shift investigator. The other days to include Kelly, sick, and vacation days are covered by the Captain working Modified Detroit.
Procedures for call-out Recently added to SeaTac CAD. On dispatch for Suspicious fire, Residential Fire, Arson, Commercial fire etc.. FM71 will be on your MDC or CAD printout. FM71 is the on duty investigator, either on duty or Standby, work cell phone number is next to our name. If not dispatched use UR K9 or Who FM71. We are also FM33.
Investigative Functions • Scene coordination • Documentation- photography, diagramming, note taking • Interviewing / Interrogations • Examining the Scene • Evidence collection and preservation • Safety Assessment
Origin and Cause In order to determine the cause of the fire the area and point of origin need to be determined. Area of origin: The general area within the fire scene where the fire began. Point of origin: the specific location where the initial fuel and heat source came together to start the fire. Cause: The sequence of events that allowed the fuel and heat source to come together.
Types of Fire Cause • Accidental-does not involve a deliberate act to ignite or spread fire into an area where the fire should not be. • Natural-caused without direct human intervention, such as lightning, wind, earthquake and the like. • Incendiary-deliberately ignited under circumstances which the person knows that the fire should not be ignited. • Undetermined – Sometimes the cause can not be determined.
Accidental Fires • Combustibles too close to a heat source. • Improper construction such as flue clearance, deteriorated chimney mortar. • Electrical- overloaded circuits, improper protection, faulty equipment. • Kitchen fires ?
Incendiary Indicators • Multiple uncommunicated fires • Trailers • Unexplained presence of ignitable liquids in area of origin. • Remote locations with obstructed view • Removal of contents prior to the fire • Absence of personal items
Indicators Commercial fires Residential Fires Apartment Fires Vehicle Fires Boat Fires Arson Indicators Water Damage
Arson Indicators • There are numerous conditions and circumstances readily apparent at various fire scenes that may indicate an incendiary origin for the fire. These can be extremely valuable to the overall success of the Investigation.
General Arson Indicators • Origin in specific room may indicate motive. • Evidence of other crimes. • Previous fires at location. • Structural damage prior to the fire. • Blocked Access
Owner Occupant Indicators • Recent changes in marital status, finances, or employment. • Recent changes to insurance. • Insurance policy in hand. • Personal items or important possessions removed or substituted prior to the fire • Missing pets
Arson Indicators Residential • Prior police activity at residence • Property for sale for extended time • Vacant property • No electrical service to residence • Absence of appliances or personal belongings • Fire reported soon after occupants exit
Arson Indicators Commercial • Decrease in revenue • New or vigorous competition • Construction of new roads or business complexes • Old deteriorating buildings • Building for sale or lease for extended period. • Removal or substitution of contents prior to the fire.
Vehicle Indicators • Vehicle fire discovered prior to owner reporting stolen. • Vehicle rebuilt or purchased as salvage. • Totally burned in a secluded location. • Missing equipment. • Recently insured comprehensive. • Recent attempts to sell. • History of mechanical problems.
Fire Scene Tactics • Take photos of the crowd and obtain information of anyone taking pictures or video. • Look for bystanders who are overly calm or appear overly excited/happy.
Fire Scene Tactics • Look for bystanders who have singed hair or smell like ignitable liquids. • Look for intoxicated bystanders.