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ARSON INVESTIGATION 101

5/31/19, 5:15 PM

Arson investigators are not just looking for a suspect(s), that is obvious. They must painstakingly reconstruct every detail of the fire scene/crime scene.

Initially, when investigating a suspicious fire, the investigators must determine if the evidence suggests incendiary or accidental in origin.

If a motive is to be exposed, the investigators should ask, who would want the fire-who benefits?

Additionally, they need to locate and interview all occupants and witnesses in a timely fashion; while gathering/documenting/analyzing physical evidence revealing clues suggesting a motive for an arsonist’s intent for setting the fire.

All eyes are on MOM-Motive, Opportunity & Means, to solve the crime.

The investigators will be looking for evidence of forced entry and the type of accelerant, if any, used to ignite the fire along with the point of origin.

Typically, there are 3 primary groups involved in the arson investigation: Fire Department, Law Enforcement and Insurance Companies. Each group has individual roles that strives for joint cooperation but there can be exceptions.

The time and day of the fire is an important aspect because many suspicious fire are started under the cover of darkness during quiet hours as well as on weekends.

While 21st Century arson investigators have multiple resources at their fingertips to solve arson cases, including access to state-of-the-art technologies-cameras, computers & cell phones, to name a few, they still need to employ many hours of legwork.

Ranch Matters Staff

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