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FIRE INVESTIGATIONS Fred Herrera, CFI San Diego, CA (760) 805-3842 www.fredherrera.com [email protected] NATIONWIDE STATS 2 million fires reported 9.4 billion dollars damage 5,000 fatalities 100 firefighter fatalities 25,500 injuries #1 cause of fires: cooking #1 cause of fire deaths: smoking BASIC FIRE SCIENCE Fire Triangle / Tetrahedron COMBUSTION Heat Fuel Oxygen Uninhibited chemical chain reaction FOR FIRE SCENARIO HEAT, FUEL, OXYGEN & EVENT HEAT TRANSFER IGNITION OF SOLIDS Material must be pyrolyzed, or chemically decomposed, by the application of heat. Density and surface area affect ignitability. Heat source must have ability to transfer sufficient heat, for sufficient duration, to fuel source. IGNITION OF LIQUIDS Flammable / Combustible Flash point below 100 F Flammable liquid Gasoline, -44 F Flash point 100 F or above Combustible liquid Kerosene, 100 F Vapors burn, not liquid Fuel / air mixture LEL – Too lean UEL – Too rich Explosive range – Bingo! FIRE ORIGIN DETERMINATION EXTERIOR EXAMINATION INTERIOR EXAMINATION Least damage to worst Identify area of origin RECONSTRUCTION FIRE-SPREAD SCENARIO FIRE CAUSE DETERMINATION Accidental Appliance failure Natural Lightning Incendiary Fraud Undetermined Black holes Examine indicators Identify possible causes Identify heat, fuel & event Rule out other causes Determine cause Render opinion SYSTEMATIC APPROACH SCIENTIFIC METHOD Recognize the need Define the problem Collect data Analyze the data Develop a hypothesis Test the hypothesis Select final hypothesis (determine cause) Resistance heating of a plug ARSON MOTIVES Crime concealment Spite / revenge Fraud / Profit Excitement Extremist Vandalism Pyromania FIRE BOMBS DRUG LABS LAST CHANCE TO ASK! ?? ?? ?? THE END!