Sie sind auf Seite 1von 174

BOOK 83

From the office of The Chief Engineer


October 11, 1996

TO ALL UNIFORMED MEMBERS SUBJECT: BOOK 83 Each year, approximately 20,000 fires occur in the City of Los Angeles. As a result of these fires, approximately 53 fatalities occur annually. Determination of cause and origin is one of the most challenging and interesting duties of any Officer. To assist you in performing these duties, the Department is providing Book 83, Fire Investigation Manual. The topics covered are: Introduction to Fire Investigation Fire Chemistry and Behavior Incident Indicators Cause Determination Conducting Investigations Evidence Motives Reports and Records Courtroom Testimony

Officers shall possess a thorough knowledge and members a working knowledge of the material contained in this Manual. This will ensure uniformity and effectiveness in the performance of cause and origin determination.

WILLIAM R. BAMATTRE
WILLIAM R. BAMATTRE Chief Engineer and General Manager WRB:ss: Book 83

TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Introduction to Fire Investigation A. B. C. Fire Department Responsibility ....................................................1 Incident Commander Responsibility ............................................2 Arson Investigation Section Responsibility ..............................................................................3

II.

Fire/Chemistry Behavior A. B. C. D. Introduction ..................................................................................4 Fire/Chemistry Terms ...............................................................4-6 Chemistry of Fire ....................................................................6-11 Building Construction ...........................................................11-26

III.

Incident Indicators A. B. C. D. E. Introduction ................................................................................27 Structures .............................................................................27-38 Vehicles ................................................................................38-43 Wildland ...............................................................................43-58 Explosions ............................................................................58-63

IV.

Cause Determination A. B. Elements of a Fire Cause......................................................64-66 Accidental Fire Causes 1. 2. 3. C. Electrical Fires ...........................................................67-89 Cigarette-caused Fires ..............................................89-93 Other Accidental Fires ............................................93-107

Incendiary Fire Causes .....................................................107-112

V.

Conducting the Investigation ....................................................113-122

VI.

Evidence A. Types of Evidence ...................................................................123 1. 2. 3. 4. Direct Evidence .....................................................123-124 Circumstantial Evidence ..............................................124 Evidence Handling ................................................124-126 Chain of Evidence.........................................................126

VII.

Motives A. Motive Types ....................................................................127-131

VIII.

Reports and Records A. B. C. D. E. F. G. Introduction ..............................................................................132 Definitions of Fire Causes .......................................................133 Fire Loss Estimation .........................................................133-137 Fire Report Requests .......................................................137-138 Subpoena Service ............................................................138-139 902 Operation ..................................................................140-143 Fire Incident Report Requests..................................................143

IX.

Courtroom Testimony A. B. C. D. E. Subpoenas .......................................................................144-145 Preparing for Court ...........................................................145-146 Testifying ..........................................................................146-147 Testifying as an Expert Witness .......................................147-149 Definitions ........................................................................149-150

X.

Arson Laws A. B. C. California State Penal Code .............................................151-156 California State Insurance Code ..............................................156 Los Angeles Municipal Code ...................................................157 ii

XI. XII. XIII.

Glossary ...................................................................................................158-168 Bibliography ............................................................................................169-170 Arson Bulletins ........................................................................................171

iii

I.

INTRODUCTION TO FIRE INVESTIGATION A. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT'S RESPONSIBILITY The Fire Department, under the City Charter, has the authority to investigate fires occurring within the City of Las Angeles. The responsibility for the investigation of fires is shared between the Bureau of Fire Suppression, which has the primary responsibility for the cause determination of fires, and the Bureau of Fire Prevention. In arson fires, this responsibility is translated into the protection of the public from those people who set fires. Under a written Letter of Agreement with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Fire Department, with the exception of associated major crimes such as a homicide, is responsible for the prevention, enforcement and prosecution of the crime of arson within the City of Los Angeles. In non-criminal fires, this follow-up responsibility translates into a moral and ethical obligation of the Fire Department, as the first responder who possesses the most immediate facts and evidence as to the cause and circumstances of the fire, to make an adequate investigation. In recent years, the most probable cause of a fire and the facts of the investigation as determined by the Fire Department have been increasingly used as a basis for subrogation in small and large loss fires, and fires resulting in injury and death.

B.

THE INCIDENT COMMANDER'S RESPONSIBILITY The Bureau of Fire Suppression and Rescue has the primary responsibility to determine the cause of all fires, criminal and non-criminal. They will complete the preliminary investigation on all incidents. In doing so, they may request the Arson Investigation Section for assistance or an Arson Unit may automatically be dispatched by OCD. The Bureau of Fire Suppression and Rescue also has the follow-up investigation responsibility of fires where the total loss is less than $25,000. This Fire Investigation Manual is designed to assist you, the Incident Commander, in: Determining Fire Cause and the Point of Origin Incident Indicators How to Conduct the Investigation Identification and Preservation of Evidence Motives of the Firesetter Documentation Needed for Reports and Records Preparation for Testifying as an Expert Witness Arson Laws Terminology Used in the Fire Service

C.

THE ARSON INVESTIGATION SECTION'S RESPONSIBILITY As per the Manual of Operation, the responsibility for determining the most probable cause of a fire rests with the Incident Commander. These investigations are to determine the cause of the fire. The purpose of fire cause determination is to establish how the fire started and the motive for starting it. For the purpose of assigning investigation responsibility, the term investigation as applied to a fire will be divided into a preliminary and follow-up investigation. The preliminary investigation will refer to the fire scene investigation and subsequent investigation needed to establish the cause. The follow-up investigation, of an arson fire, refers to the criminal investigation necessary to seek the prosecution of an arsonist. In an accidental fire, the non-criminal investigation necessary to determine the contributing factors, liability, fire code violations and needed fire code revisions. The Arson Investigation Section is organized to provide limited fire investigation service for the City of Los Angeles on a 24-hour basis. The Arson Section is responsible for the investigation of fires in which there is knowledge or suspicion the crime of arson has been committed or attempted. The responsibility also extends to the detection and apprehension of those who are involved in criminal fires. The Arson Section is required to complete a narrative report on all fires investigated and to maintain these records as a source of documentation for use in criminal and civil cases.

II.

FIRE CHEMISTRY/BEHAVIOR A. INTRODUCTION Members that are responsible for or the investigation of fire scenes must have a working knowledge of the behavior of fire since: The member is often required to interpret the aftermath of a fire. The member is frequently required to use both technical and/or general explanations of fire behavior in legal proceedings. A knowledgeable understanding of the behavior of fire helps to demonstrate the member's expertise in the area of fire cause determination. A member's understanding and ability to explain the behavior of fire will add credibility to court testimony and to the member's opinion. A basic understanding of the behavior of fire is the foundation from which any fire cause investigation will be developed. One of the more popular tactics of arson defense attorneys is to attack the member's credibility with regard to fire behavior, therefore, a good basic understanding of the subject adds to the credibility of the member as an expert witness. B. FIRE CHEMISTRY 1. Terms relating to Fire Chemistry British Thermal Unit (B.T.U.) The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit (measured at 60 degrees F.). Combustible liquids Liquids having a flash point at or above 100 degrees F.

Fire Rapid oxidation of a substance accompanied by the release of energy usually in the form of heat and light. Fire point The lowest temperature of a liquid in an open container at which vapors evolve fast enough to support continuous combustion. Flammable limits The term "lower flammable limits" (LFL) describes the minimum concentration of vapor-to-air below which propagation will not occur in the presence of an ignition source. The "upper flammable limit" (UFL) is the maximum vapor-to-air concentration above which propagation of flame will not occur. Flammable liquids Liquids having a flash point below 100 degrees F. Flash Point The minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off vapors in sufficient concentrations to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid. Heat A form, of energy associated with the motion of atoms and molecules. Heat of combustion The amount of heat released during the complete oxidation of a substance. Ignition temperature The minimum temperature to which a substance must be heated in air in order to initiate or cause combustion, independent of the heating element or source. The ignition temperature of ordinary combustibles is between 300 and 1000 degrees F.

Oxidation As a substance burns, it mixes with oxygen and produces heat. Specific gravity The ratio of the weight of a solid or liquid substance to the weight of an equal volume of water. Temperature The quantity of heat concentration. The intensity of heat is measured in degrees (Fahrenheit or Celsius). Vapor density The weight per unit volume of a pure gas or vapor. In fire protection, vapor density is reported in terms of the ratio of the relative weight of a volume of vapor to the weight of an equal volume of air under the same conditions of temperature and pressure. A vapor density less than 1.0 indicates a vapor lighter than air. A vapor density more than 1.0 indicates a vapor heavier than air. C. CHEMISTRY OF FIRE 1. Classification of fires Class "A fires are fires involving ordinary combustible fuels. Class "B" fires are fires involving liquid fuels. Class "C" fires are fires involving energized electrical equipment. Class D" fires are fires involving combustible metals.

2.

The fire triangle Heat Fuel Oxygen

3.

The fire tetrahedron In reality, fire has four parts which are necessary for self-sustaining, open flaming combustion: Heat Fuel Oxygen Uninhibited chain reaction among all parts of the tetrahedron. In the flame, many chemical reactions occur which produce additional heat. When certain extinguishing agents are introduced, it breaks up this chemical reaction and extinguishes the fire without affecting the heat, fuel, or oxygen sides of the fire triangle. These extinguishing agents are: Dry chemical Halon

4.

Pyrolysis Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of matter through the action of heat. Early indications of the pyrolysis process are usually observed as discoloration of the fuel. As pyrolysis continues, combustible gases are released and a black carbon residue called "char" remains. The fuel continues to dry and char as the fuel continues to absorb heat. As pyrolysis continues, sufficient combustible gas is evolved to produce an atmosphere rich enough to support combustion. If the fuel continues to be heated slowly, but there is not sufficient heat present to reach ignition temperature, pyrophoric carbon may result.

Normally, minimum- temperature associated with development of pyrophoric carbon may become hot enough to cause surrounding fuels to reach ignition temperature. At the point of origin, combustible materials may be totally carbonized while adjacent areas may be undamaged. 5. Ignition and Combustion of Wood Products As fuel is first heated to a point where its surface reaches the* boiling point of water, flammable vapors are released. As heating continues/increases, the drying process continues and ignition of the flammable vapors occurs when the temperature is sufficient to cause these vapors to ignite. 6. Heat Transfer The transfer of heat is usually the key element in ignition (and extinguishment) of most fires. Heat is transferred in four ways. a. Conduction The transfer of heat from one object to another through direct physical contact. Examples: Metal pipes in the fire area conducting heat and spreading the fire through walls or other combustible assemblies to involved areas. Heated steel structural members spreading the fire to uninvolved areas. b. Convection The transfer of heat by some circulating medium (liquid or gas). This is the form of heat transfer most responsible for fire spread in structural fires. Example: The spreading of fire from lower to upper structural areas when upper areas become heated to their ignition temperature.

c.

Radiation The transfer of heat as energy traveling through space or materials as waves. Example:Exposure problems in large fires.

d.

Direct flame impingement Direct flame contact with combustibles.

7.

Phases of fire Most fires (and especially those in structures) can be divided into three separate phases: a. Incipient phase (Growth) Although actual flame temperatures can reach 1000 degrees F., temperatures in the surrounding area are not greatly increased. There is free burning with open flame. Oxygen in the area remains near 21%. Thermal updraft causes heat to accumulate at the higher portions of the area. b. Free burning phase (Fully developed) Air from the surrounding atmosphere is drawn into the fire. "Mushrooming" may take place and flame is present. oxygen content of area is usually reduced to 16% - 18%. Fire gases which may be present are carbon, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water, sulfur dioxide, etc., depending on fuel, heat, and general environment. "Flashover" frequently occurs during this phase. c. Smoldering phase (Decay) Free burning may cease in the fire area. Area fills with dense smoke. Oxygen may drop below 15%. Temperatures may reach 1000 degrees F. throughout the area. Improper/uncontrolled air admission may result in "backdraft".

8.

Backdraft A backdraft is defined as an explosion or rapid burning of heated fire gases resulting from the introduction of oxygen when air is admitted into a building heavily charged by smoke from a fire which has depleted the oxygen content of a building. Cause of backdrafts: Carbon monoxide is one of the most common gases found in structural fires and is highly flammable. (Explosive limits = 12.5% - 74%). Carbon monoxide usually collects at the upper areas of a fire-involved structure and the introduction of air from below may produce the necessary air-to-vapor mixture to bring the carbon monoxide into its flammable limits. The ignition temperature of carbon monoxide (1128 degrees F.) is well below the temperature found at the upper areas of a structure involved in fire. Flammable gas + explosive (flammable) range + ignition source = explosion. Backdrafts (explosions) often produce injuries to fire personnel. Questioning fire personnel may help identify a backdraft: Heavy smoke conditions on arrival. Lack of visible flame. Improper method of entering a structure may cause a backdraft. Movement of smoke prior to explosion. Structure may appear to breathe. Whistle, jet or train sound

10

9.

Flashover Flashover is the stage of the fire when all combustibles in an area have become heated to their ignition temperature, then ignite simultaneously. Flashover occurs when heat produced by-'the fire collects at ceiling level and is returned to lower areas by thermal radiation feedback. Combustible materials are heated to their ignition temperatures and fire flashes over-large areas (may involve all combustibles in the area). Flashover may cause an area to appear to have been exposed to flammable accelerants. Careful examination, however, should indicate: Burning over top surfaces of materials. Lack of normal fire spread from point of origin. Lack of accelerant residue.

D.

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION 1. Types of Buildings (Title 24) Type I - Fire Resistive The structural elements in Type I Fire-resistive buildings shall be of steel, iron, concrete, or masonry. Walls and permanent partitions shall be of noncombustible fire-resistive construction except that permanent non-bearing partitions may have fire-retardant treated wood. Type II - Noncombustible/fire-resistive, one-hour, or no-hour construction. Construction in which walls, partitions, and structural members are of noncombustible material but do not qualify as Type I Fire-resistive. Type III - Ordinary construction Construction in which exterior bearing walls or bearing partitions of exterior walls are of noncombustible materials and have a minimum hourly fire-resistive rating. Wood allowed for interior use.

11

Type IV - Heavy timber construction Construction where exterior bearing and non-bearing walls are noncombustible and have a minimum fire-resistive rating of four hours. Columns, beams and girders are commonly heavy timber with wood floors and roof construction built without concealed spaces. " Type V - Wood frame construction Construction in which exterior walls, bearing walls, partitions, floors and roofs as well as their supports are wholly or partly wood or other combustibles. 2. Structural Loads and Loading Dead loads The weight of the building and any equipment permanently attached or built-in. Live loads Any load other than a dead load. Live loads vary with intended or actual use of the structure. Examples of common live loads are occupants, storage, and furnishings. Fire operations increase the live loads both in water accumulation and fire personnel. Impact loads Loads which are delivered in a short period of time. Impact loads may be more harmful when supported as dead or live loads. Examples of common impact loads are explosions, wind (lateral analysis), and earthquakes. Fire loads The total number of British Thermal Units (BTU) which might be evolved during a fire in the building or area under consideration and the rate at which the heat will be evolved. Occupancy type has a direct relationship to fire load and generally dictates the possible fire load.

12

3.

Building elements and considerations for the fire scene investigation. Walls and Partitions Rating of fire walls. Wall finish and certifications. Wall integrity. Ceiling assemblies Concealed spaces acting as flues. Ceiling integrity. Floor assemblies Floor coverings. Floor integrity. Concealed spaces acting as flues. Attic and roof assemblies Usually susceptible to fire spread. Often constructed of unprotected materials. Storage of combustibles. Attic areas (Unprotected concealed space) cannot exceed 3000 square feet without fire walls.

13

4.

Roof Construction Gable Roof Conventional or ordinary construction consists of a ridge board and rafters from the ridge board down to and across the outside walls (studs) . Ridge and rafters are usually 2 by 6 inches Or larger. Rafters are usually 16 inches to 24 inches "on center". Additional support is provided by collar beams and ceiling joists. Roofs are constructed in semi-flat to steep pitches.

RIDGE BOARD RAFTER

CEILINGLING JOIST TOP PLATES STUD

GABLE ROOF

14

Hip roof Similar to gable roof. Ends of roof terminate in "hip". conventional or ordinary construction consists of ridge pole and hip rafters from the ridge board down to and across the corners at the outside walls. Valley rafters are utilized where two roof lines are joined together. Ridge and rafters are usually 2 by 6 inches or larger. Rafters are usually 16 to 24 inches "on center". Various degrees of pitch are utilized.

RIDGE BOARD

HIP RAFTER

JACK RAFTER VALLEY RAFTER COMMON RAFTER

PLATE

15

Flat roof Wood joists (rafters) of various sizes laid across the outside walls or outside walls to interior walls or structural supports. Joists may also be suspended by metal hangers. Joists are covered with 1 by 6 inch sheathing or plywood and composition roofing material.

ROOFING MATERIAL

4' X 8'PLYWOOD OR 1" X 6" SHEATHING

WOODEN JOIST

FLAT ROOF

16

Bridge truss roof Wooden truss members constructed from 2 by 12 inch lumber with sloping ends. Usually a heavy grade of construction. Metal tie rods may be used vertically for additional support. Joists are 2 by 6 inches and 2 by 8 inches covered with 1 by 6 inch sheathing and composition roofing material.
ROOFING MATERIAL WOOD SHEATHING RAFTERS
TOP CHORD COMPRESSION

METAL SUPPORT RODS BOTTOM CHORD TENSION

BRIDGE TRUSS ROOF

17

Arched roofs Bowstring arch roof Arch roof with tie rods and turnbuckles offering lateral support. Tie rods with turnbuckles are used-below each arch member to support the exterior walls. Tie rods may pass through exterior walls to an outside plate facilitating identification. Tension is maintained by the turnbuckles. Top chords of arch members may utilize laminated 2 by 12's or larger. Two by 10 inch rafters are covered by 1 by 6 inch sheathing and composition roofing material.

TOP CHORD COMPRESSION OPTIONAL

RAFTERS WOOD SHEATHING ROOFING MATERIAL

STEEL ROD BOTTOM CHORD TENSION TURNBUCKLE

BOWSTRING ARCH

18

Ribbed (trussed) arch roof Usually large size (2 by 12, 2 by 14 inch) wooden members utilized to construct truss arch. Some arches have multiple laminated beams to form one arch. Rafters (2 by 10 inch or larger) are covered with 1 by 6 inch: sheathing and composition roofing material.

TOP CHORD COMPRESSION

RAFTERS WOOD SHEATHING ROOFING MATERIAL

DETAIL BOTTOM CHORD TENSION

RIBBED ARCH ROOF

19

Sawtooth roof Constructed in commercial buildings to yield additional light and ventilation. Constructed with rafters of 2 by 8 inches or larger, and utilizes wood and/or metal supports for bracing to provide additional strength. Vertical portion is usually "wired" glass with openable panes. Sloping portion is covered with 1 by 6 inch sheathing or plywood and composition roofing material.

ROOFING MATERIAL GLASS WOOD SHEATHING

RAFTER

SAWTOOTH

20

Panelized roof This roof may be found on structures constructed of woody masonry, or concrete tilt-up slabs. This roof consists of four major components. Laminated beams Purlins 2 by 4 inch joists or 5/8 inch plywood decking.

ROOFING MATERIAL 4 X 8 PLYWOOD

PURLIN
JOIST 12 TO 40

BEAM

DETAIL
METAL HANGER

PANELIZED ROOF

21

Metal Gusset Plate Construction Drawing "All (Residential) Rough carpentry wood trusses used both in residential (Drawing "All) and commercial (Drawing "B") applications utilize 2 X 4's held together by metal gusset plate connectors. Trusses are constructed of top chords, bottom chords, and webbing (supports between the top and bottom chords). The trusses are held together by metal gusset plate connectors. Trusses are supported at their outside edge only unless used as a cantilever truss. Eighteen gauge roof truss clips are nailed to the bottom chords and to the top plate of the interior wall. Common on-center spacing is 2 feet and may be covered with 1/2 inch plywood.

METAL GUSSET PLATE WEBBIN G TOP CHORD COMPRESSION PLYWOOD ROOFING MATERIAL

BOTTOM CHORD TENSION

METAL GUSSET PLATE CONSTRUCTION

22

Metal Gusset Plate Construction Drawing "B" (Commercial)

WEBBING
TOP CHORD COMPRESION

PLYWOOD

METAL GUSSET PLATE BOTTOM CHORD TENSION

METAL GUSSET PLATE CONSTRUCTION

23

Open Web Construction Open web construction consists of bottom and top parallel wooden supporting beams (chords) which are cross connected by steel tube web members. The steel, tube web members are prefabricated from 1 to 2-inch cold rolled steel tubing with the ends pressed flat into a semicircular shape and a hole punched through each end. These flattened ends are then inserted into slots in the chords. Steel pins (up to 1 inch) are driven through the chord members and through the flattened ends of the web members completing the assembly.
PLYWOOD TOP CHORD COMPRESSION ROOFING MATERIAL

METAL OPEN WEBBING BOTTOM CHORD TENSION UNSUPPORTED

OPEN WEB CONSTRUCTION

24

Wooden "I" Beam Construction Wooden "I" beam construction consists of three main components: top chord, bottom chord and a 3/8 inch plywood stem. The stem is joined to the top and bottom chords by a glued edge joint. 2 X 4 Is are used as chords. Some chords resemble plywood because of laminations. The laminations run horizontally in the chords. Common on-center spacing for this construction is 2 feet. Half -inch plywood is utilized for the decking.

PLYWOOD TOP CHORD COMPRESS


ROOFING MATERIAL

PLYWOOD BOTTOM CHORD TENSION END VIEW

WOODEN I BEAM

25

5.

Building construction Illustration The following illustration is an example of construction terminology and techniques that are useful in developing a basic knowledge of construction fundamentals-.

WALL FRAMEWORK

1. TOP PLATE 2. KICKER BLOCK 3. HEADER 4. STUD 5. TRIMMER 6. FIRE BLOCKING 7. DIAGONAL BRACING 8. SILL HERDER 9. TRIMMER 10. SUDFLOORING 11. SOLE PLATE 12. FLOOR JOIST 13. SOLID BLOCKING 14. CRIPPLE STUDS 15. TREATED PLATE

26

III.

INCIDENT INDICATORS A. INTRODUCTION In most cases, damage from fire leaves behind distinctive patterns. The type of material burning, the manner in which it was ignited and how long it burns dictates the pattern(s) that remain. The burn patterns may be very obvious or extremely subtle, requiring an exhaustive search. The fire scene Investigator must be able to follow the path of the fire by reading these patterns. The area of origin can best be determined by having the knowledge and experience to recognize these patterns or incident indicators. Burn patterns and the ability to recognize them are fundamental to the fire scene investigator. There are definite relationships between the point of origin and the fire cause. Conclusions should be based on the preponderance of the indicators and the total fire scene. B. STRUCTURES 1. Preliminary observations The process of determining cause and origin of a fire starts prior to arrival on the fire scene. Some considerations are as follows: Type of occupancy

Timeof day and day of week Color of fire and smoke Complete combustion often produces little or no smoke. Dense, heavy smoke often indicates incomplete combustion as the lack of sufficient oxygen usually causes flames to be darker. The color of flames may indicate the types of materials being burned. As the amount of hydrocarbons increase, the flames will become darker and more orange in color. The process continues through the extinguishment phase. How well developed was the fire upon arrival? How fast was the fire developing? How difficult was the fire to extinguish? How did firefighting tactics and strategy affect the fire travel?

27

2.

Scene investigation Accurate cause and origin determination requires the fire scene investigator to develop a well organized and coordinated procedure. First, examine the entire exterior of the structure. Then examine the interior of the structure, working from. the LEAST to the MOST damaged fire areas. It is imperative that ALL areas be examined, to insure that nothing of significance is overlooked. ONE INDICATOR IS NOT SUFFICIENT. TAKE ALL AVAILABLE INDICATORS INTO CONSIDERATION. CLEAR YOUR MIND AND TAKE A SECOND LOOK. MENTALLY, MOVE THE POINT OF ORIGIN TO DIFFERENT PLACES AND TRY TO DISPROVE YOUR OWN THEORY.

3.

Burn patterns Burn patterns are the burned areas as opposed to unburned areas and their relationship to each other. This will be indicated by the angle, or where the burn IS as opposed to where it is NOT. Convection and radiation play a major role in producing burn patterns. Factors that may influence the burn patterns: Fuel load Venting Firefighting activities Weather Complete and systematic removal of debris may be necessary to obtain a clear, unobstructed view of patterns. a. General The fire scene investigator should work backwards in relation to the fire's travel or spread. Examine the areas of least damage and work toward areas of most severe damage. Entire structure must be examined and conditions recorded. Ceiling damage may help locate the point of origin.

28

The area above the point of origin is usually exposed to heat and flame for longer periods and may result in holes in the ceiling. The normal growth of a fire is usually upward and outward. This burning usually produces a V" pattern. V" patterns may help to identify point of origin and are usually found on walls, therefore, once ceiling damage has been identified, walls should be evaluated next, then patterns at floor level. V" patterns will usually point toward the origin of the fire. Shape/characteristic of V" pattern: Wide V" pattern with diffused line of demarcation usually indicates a slow smoldering combustion. Narrow V" pattern with sharp line of demarcation may indicate flaming, rapid combustion. Inverted V" pattern with sharp line of demarcation may indicate flaming, very rapid combustion; possible presence of flammable accelerants. V" may only be identifiable from a distance in larger structure fires. In some cases, V" may be vertical, horizontal or a combination of both. V" patterns may extend around corners, walls and doors. Interior structural elements may form V" patterns. b. Char patterns The chemical composition of wood and modified wood consists primarily of carbon with other elements such as hydrogen and oxygen with lesser amounts of nitrogen.

29

Douglas fir burns at the rate of approximately one inch in 40-45 minutes. Hardwoods burn at the rate of about 3/4 inch in 40-45 minutes and pine burns at a faster rate than fir. CHAR DEPTH MEASUREMENTS SHOULD BE USED AS AN INDICATOR ONLY!
CHAR BASE CHAR LAYER PYROLYSIS ZONE PYROLYSIS ZONE BASE NORMAL WOOD

CHAR DEPTH

30

If a cross section of the wood is cut and the line of demarcation examined, it will show a sharp line of charring between the burned and unburned areas for high temperatures. However, if the area between the burned and unburned is overlapping showing a grey or brown area, then this is a good indication of a slow fire with lower temperatures.

DEPTH OF CHAR

MEASURING TOOL

WOOD CHAR

31

A fast fire does not give heat time to penetrate the wood. A slow fire would give the heat time to penetrate and there would be a "gradual" decline from unburned to charred wood. Wall coverings must be taken into consideration in regards to flame spread. How long would these coverings protect the wood? When exposed to high temperatures, such as those associated with flammable liquids, wood will usually develop deep, shiny, rolling, alligatoring blisters. Relative depth of char usually indicates length of time materials have been exposed to the flame. Deep char is usually found near the point of origin and may be a good indicator to help locate the point of origin.

LENGTHWISE CUTS

INDICATIVE OF SLOW BURN: GRADUAL DECREASE FROM CHARRED TO UNBURNED WOOD

INDICATIVE OF FAST BURN: SHARP LINE OF DEMARCATION BETWEEN BURNED AND UNBURNED AREAS

32

The char patterns will vary based upon the fuel load. Other factors that may effect charring are: Ventilation Age of the product Moisture content Hardness/density of the product Temperature of the fire Existing fuel load around the product Firefighting tactics & strategy Expect deeper char around doors, windows and other openings. This will usually be caused by the flames venting out these openings as the fire seeks additional oxygen. c. Low burns Fire penetrates floor Consider fuel load. Consider venting. Consider floor covering. Consider radiant heat patterns. Consider sharp lines of demarcation which may indicate the presence of flammable liquids. Fuel load Table/chair legs Undersides of tables/chairs Door bottoms d. Lowest level of burning Burning in a downward direction is usually very slow. The point of origin is usually located at or near the lowest level of burning. 33

Remove debris in layers when searching for lowest level of burning. Determine if debris is normal for given occupancy or area. Establish times when various fuels/materials were heated/burned and fell to floor. Examine undersides of contents for fire damage. Fire damage to the underside of contents may indicate point of origin at lower level (chairs, sofas, tables, etc.). Examine undersides of structural elements for fire damage (shelves, doors, window sills etc.). e. Spalling Spall is the explosive breaking off of pieces of masonry materials such as concrete or brick during exposure to fire. Great care must be used while evaluating the significance of concrete spalling. Spall only suggests a possibility of the presence of flammable liquid, and in and of itself, does not prove the presence of a flammable liquid. Spalling can be caused by rapid contraction of the surface of the concrete as a result of application of hose streams. It may also be caused by expanding moisture pre-existing in the concrete prior to the fire. f. Ghost marks Asphalt tile is usually applied by use of a mastic adhesive. Most flammable liquids are petroleum-base and will be a solvent to the mastic. As the flammable liquid soaks into the joints of the tiles, it will mix with and liquefy the mastic. The tightness of the joints regulates the amount of liquid seeping under the tile. In most cases, ghost marks are caused by the application of a flammable liquid to a surface covered with asphalt tile. Ghost marks will leave a dark, discolored mark where the tile edge was located.

34

g.

Smoke residue color-and density Black, sooty smoke usually indicates a hydrocarbon product (flammable liquid or foam). Dark, gray smoke adheres to surfaces and is usually sticky and difficult to wipe off. It is usually indicative of a slow or smoldering fire. The farther away from the origin, the higher the smoke line. This will-vary with the fuel load.

h.

Light bulbs When subjected to 900 degrees F., may swell toward the point of heat. Under fire conditions, the gas pressure in the light bulb increases while the glass is softened on the side which is heated most by the fire.

i.

Light fixtures Improperly installed light fixtures may cause fires in nearby combustible construction materials (joists, studs, insulation, etc.). The fire may be slow starting and may be characteristic of low temperature ignition. There may be deep charring or pyrophoric carbon in the area of origin. In fluorescent fixtures, the ballast transformer can often cause fires when the pitchblende inside the transformer breaks down. The transformers are designed to operate continuously at approximately 90 degrees F, but the temperature often goes higher. This heat can melt and vaporize the pitchblende sometimes igniting combustible ceiling material. Ballast transformers have a life expectancy of 15 years. Many older ones still in use are beginning to break down. Check for the odor of the burned ballast. Check for leakage of ballast filler material.

35

j.

Glass as an indicator. Factors that effect glass behavior Age Thickness Type Temperature variation (inside to outside) Country of manufacture Glass objects located throughout the structure can be affected by smoke, heat and flame, and therefore assist with point of origin identification. The effects of these products vary with: Heat buildup Intensity of fire Speed of fire spread Distance from the fire Smoke stain and glass Smoke production varies with the type of material burned, rate of burning, and duration of burning. Smoke stains must be used as an indicator only due to the many variables affecting its presence. Accumulates on cool/cold surface. Stops forming when temperatures reach 700 degrees F. Baked on smoke stain (soot) will burn off when exposed to direct flame. Crazing of glass as an indicator. Crazingis usually caused by rapid buildup of heat during the fire. Extent and size of crazing varies with the thickness of glass, relative exposure to fire, and type of glass. 36

Heat fracturing of glass Usually larger than crazed glass. Usually caused by slower heat buildup. Checkering of glass (half-moon shape found on surface of glass). Usually results from water being applied to heated glass. Usually indicates glass was in its frame when fire streams were used. Broken glass due to mechanical force Requires careful examination. Check the glass for concentric fractures and radial fractures. Can indicate forced entry prior to fire. May produce protected areas under the glass. Explosion will cause shards of glass to be found at various distances outside of structure. Location of glass within debris Level that glass is located in debris. Determine what time during the fire the glass became part of the debris. k. Annealing of springs The term annealing, when applied to spring steel, means to make less brittle. This condition is the result of the steel being subjected to heat and allowed to slowly cool. Annealing can occur to any type of spring, whether in a vehicle or in furniture. The annealing temperature is dependent on the type and mass of the steel.

37

l.

Melting points of metal Melting of metal within the structure may indicate an intense fire. Possible indicator of extreme heat at or near floor level. Extreme heat may be the result of the use of flammable liquids. The melting of different materials in the structure can be an indicator of the type of temperatures reached during the fire.

m.

Calcination of drywall/sheetrock Naturally contains 21% water which is chemically bound in the product. Dehydration of gypsum is called "calcination". Heat exposure causes it to undergo calcination (105+ degrees F.). The calcination process causes distinct lines to appear. This can be observed by looking at the edge of the board (cross section).

C.

Vehicles The average automobile contains over 300 pounds (approximately 13%) of plastics which are derived from petroleum products. Vehicles also contain other materials, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, motor oil, transmission and brake fluids, and battery acids, which among other things, are subject to combustion. In addition to these components, a normal vehicle contains mechanical systems which generate electrical sparks and heat during its normal operation. These sources of ignition are capable of starting a fire under the proper conditions. Engineering and safety designs by the manufacturer play an important role in protecting these vehicles from accidental fires. Accordingly, accidental fires involving vehicles are not as frequent as commonly believed. 1. Fire scene investigation a. Fires involving vehicles require both a fire scene examination and a detailed vehicle examination.

38

b.

As in other fires, vehicles should be worked from the area of least damage to the area of most damage in an attempt to locate the point of origin. Begin your investigation PRIOR to overhaul. Survey of the surrounding area may help in the overall fire scene examination. The following indicators may be of importance: Gas cap missing. Accelerant residue under or near vehicle which may be taken from the soil. Fire damage to the surrounding area should be noted. An accelerant container may be found in the immediate area. A remote area may indicate vehicle was possibly stolen and taken to that location to be burned.

c. d.

e.

Exterior vehicle examination may be helpful in the fire cause determination. This should include an examination of the following: Fire damage relating to roof, tires, wheels and other body components. Make note of collision damage. Check for multiple fires, although strict attention must be given to prove that one fire did not communicate to the other. Burn patterns may be evident on the vehicle especially when a flammable liquid was used to accelerate the fire. Check for obvious missing parts such as tires, wheels, doors, etc., which may possibly indicate a motive for the fire. Check for flammable liquid residue around the moldings of fenders, doors, hood, trunk and windows. Check trunk for the usual contents (spare tire, jack, etc.). An empty trunk should be considered suspicious on older model vehicles.

39

f.

Examination of the vehicle's interior may reveal indicators as to the cause of the fire to include the following: A fire that is intentionally accelerated with flammable liquid in the passenger compartment will have a total, even burn from front to rear. The roof line will be severely distorted if allowed to burn for ten to fifteen minutes. Generally, the seats will show evidence of annealing (weakening and collapsing). Flammable liquid containers may be left in the vehicle by the suspect thinking they will be consumed in the fire. Regardless of the container used (metal, glass or plastic), some portion will be left as evidence. Flammable liquid residue may be present in floor carpets, under mats, in seat cushions or along door panels. Check for annealing of springs in seat cushions which is an indicator of extreme heat, but in and of itself is not necessarily an indicator of an incendiary fire. Examine the windows of the vehicle, noting their position and if they had been broken out prior to the fire (lack of heat/smoke damage). Examine doors to establish if forcible entry had been made prior to the fire. Examine interior of vehicle to establish if accessories may have been removed/stolen prior to fire. Check to see if ignition key is in its proper place or if the vehicle may have been "hot-wired". Make a complete search of the vehicle for evidence of incendiary devices.

40

g.

Examination of vehicle's fuel system should include the following: Inspect the integrity of the fuel tank and its components. Examine the tank fill cap and spout. Examine fuel lines and connections (check for tool marks or tampering). Vehicles equipped with catalytic converters present special fire-related problems. A properly operating catalytic converter can reach internal temperatures of 1600 degrees. An improperly operating converter may generate an external temperature of approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat can be conducted through the bottom of the vehicle causing combustible material in the interior to ignite. Fires in grass and brush have been caused by vehicles parked off the road where the heat from a catalytic converter has been the source of ignition.

h.

Examination of the engine compartment area may reveal evidence as to the cause of the fire. Electrical engineers have greatly reduced the possibility of a fire from a short circuit in a "factory" (non-modified) vehicle. "After-market" additions to the electrical system (stereo components, etc.), however, do cause fire related problems. (1) Fuses Fuses are replaceable conductors with a low melting point. If the current passing through the fuse exceeds its capacity, the conducting material will melt and stop the flow of electricity.

41

(2)

Circuit breakers Circuit Breakers are generally used to protect electric motors that are used intermittently. They are normally found on auxiliary items such as power windows and tailgate windows.

(3)

Fusible links Fusible links are a section of wire approximately four gauges smaller than the regular wire being used. If an overload occurs, the link will burn out before the regular wire is damaged.

(4)

Battery Although uncommon, batteries have been known to explode, thereby being a source of ignition. This can be caused by an excessive charging rate that causes hydrogen gas to be released. If there is inadequate ventilation, a spark can easily ignite this gas. Determine if battery was connected or missing. Examine the electrical system making certain that fuses, circuit breakers, and fusible links were operating correctly. Examine fan, generator, and air conditioner belts, as these belts are seldom destroyed in accidental fires. Check for missing motor accessories indicating that vehicle was inoperable, thus diminishing many accidental fire causes. Examine the carburetor to determine if it caused the fire or was merely an exposure of the fire (newer vehicles may not have carburetors).

42

i.

Vehicle fires other-than automobiles. Recreational vehicles and trailer-mounted boats are usually of fiberglass construction and may add to the fire load and fire damage. Additional hazards of these type vehicles may be related to power generators, cooking appliances, or bilge areas. The presence of auxiliary fuel tanks may tend to alter normal burn patterns making the cause of the fire more difficult to determine. Establish if different types of fuels are present at fire scene which may also alter burn patterns. Vehicle registration and Ownership. Make note of the vehicle license plate or other descriptive indicators. Attempt to locate VIN (vehicle identification number) which is usually located on or near the dashboard. Check the glove compartment for paperwork which may aid in establishing ownership or detailed information about vehicle.

D.

Wildland Fires in open land covered with grass, brush, or timber are often termed wildland fires. Although they are often terrifying in their destructive power and intimidating in their coverage, they begin, like almost every other fire, with suitable fuel and a small, localized source of ignition. All fire investigations require thorough and systematic examination of the suspected area of origin and logical and analytical assessment of the evidence found. Wildland fires are no exception. The fire personnel who understand fuels, fire behavior, and the effects of environmental conditions are in a better position to interpret the subtle and sometimes delicate signs of fire patterns in wildland fires, and therefore are better able to identify the origin and cause, no matter what type of fire is involved.

43

1.

Fire behavior a. Fire not influenced by strong wind will usually burn uphill in a fan-shaped pattern (V" pattern). In the uncommon circumstance of a strong, downhill wind, the fire will burn down the hill only to the degree that the ambient wind can overcome the fire's tendency to burn uphill. On level ground, in the absence of a wind, fire will spread from the center in all directions but its spread will be inhibited by the wind it creates, blowing back into the base of the fire from all directions. Such a fire will spread very slowly. Ambient wind will modify the patterns by adding an additional spreading component, so that the fan shaped pattern on the hillside will deflect to one direction or the other and a predominant direction of travel will be created on level ground. In a fire having an extended perimeter, the direction of burning may vary locally in almost any direction depending on the interdependence of the terrain, the air currents created by the fire itself, and the ambient wind. Fire travel is controlled by weather, wind, fuels, and topography. As with structure fire investigation, no single indicator will identify cause and origin of a wildland fire. Several indicators must be identified and used to trace fire travel back to the point of origin.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f. g.

44

2.

Burn indicators a. Charring of a tree trunk, plant stem, or fence post is deeper on the side facing the oncoming fire. Char depth can be checked with a knife blade, pencil point, ice pick, or screwdriver. It is strictly a comparative indicator, so absolute depth is of little consequence. Tree trunks and fence posts may have been subjected to prior fire, so take that into consideration.

FIRE

FIRE

CHAR DEPTH DEEPER ON SIDE FACING FIRE

45

b.

Destruction of a -bush or tree will be more extensive on the side facing the fire.

FIRE TRAVEL

46

c.

The beveling effect of a fast fire may influence the appearance of branches or twigs remaining upright. Twigs and branches facing the fire may be flat or rounded stumps while those facing away from it (downwind) will be tapered or pointed.

FIRE TRAVEL

47

d.

A fast- moving fire creates a draft around large objects which creates an angled pattern around tree trunks, posts, plant stems, and the like.

FIRE SPREAD

FIRE SPREAD

e.

A slow-moving fire, especially one that is "backing" against the wind or down a slope, will create a burn pattern approximately level with the ground. Note that such patterns can be influenced by local fuel load such as needles, leaves, and debris around the base of the tree.

FIRE SPREAD

FIRE SPREAD

f.

If the vertical stem is burned away, the remaining stump will be beveled or cupped on the side facing the fire. This will be true even for stems or weeds.

FIRE SPREAD

50

g.

When the back of the hand is brushed lightly against such stubble, the beveled tops will allow the skin to pass smoothly across in the same direction as the fire but resist with sharp points a hand passing in the opposite direction'.

SMOOTH FIRE TRAVEL ROUGH

51

h.

Rocks, cans, signs, and other non-combustibles will provide a barrier to the flow of the flames and show greater heat discoloration on the side facing the fire. Lichen, moss, and close-growing grass may survive on the side away from the fire.

FIRE TRAVEL

52

i.

Tall weeds and grass, when burned by a slow-moving fire (particularly as it backs along the flanks) will be undercut by the fire moving along the ground. The stems, if vertical, will then fall toward the fire with the heads of grass stems pointing back toward the fire origin. This effect is highly dependent on the wind conditions prior to and during the fire. Tall grass that is already matted down pointing away from the fire will fall in that direction, so there is often conflicting directions from such indicators.

FIRE TRAVEL

j.

The height of remaining stems and grasses is roughly proportional to the speed of the fire. The effect is dependent on the moisture content of the plants and will not be visible in areas that have re-burned.

53

k.

In the immediate vicinity of the origin, the fire will not have developed any particular direction and the indicators will be confused or contradictory. Fuels in the form of grass or weeds may still be upright or only partially 'burned in the immediate area of origin. Extension of a fire beyond a barrier, for example, a road or river, will cause the appearance of a brand new origin. This is particularly true when the "new" fire is started by airborne embers or burning debris from an established fire rolling downhill (sometimes called "spot fires").

l.

54

3.

Determine the Area of Origin a. Utilize firefighters and witness statements to determine the area at which the fire was first observed. Depending on the nature of the terrain and the extent of the fire, a fan-shaped or V-shaped pattern may be visible from a short distance away. The apex of this pattern can then be selected as the focal point for the search pattern.

b.

LATER DEVELOPING STAGE

START SEARCH

TYPICAL V PATTERN

55

c.

Identify burn indicators and work backward to identify the area of origin. Take into consideration the wind direction at the time of the fire and the relative humidity. once an area of origin is located, rope it off This will control access to the area and limit damage to the physical evidence. Conduct a slow and systematic search of the area of origin to determine the source of ignition.

d.

e.

f.

4.

Sources of Ignition a. Unattended fires or fires inadequately extinguished by campers, hunters, and others. Carelessness with smoking materials, including burning tobacco and matches. Cigarettes may not ignite dry vegetation unless the relative humidity is under 22%. Trash burning and, in some areas, controlled grass and brush burning. Sparks from vehicles, especially locomotives or other motor-driven equipment. Heat and/or fragments from a disintegrating catalytic converter. Lightning, which is a major cause of timber fires. Power transmission lines and accessories such as transformers. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) Transformer short circuits and malfunctions Leakage over dirty insulators and supports Fallen wires Arcing between conductors Grounding of in-place conductors Birds coming in contact with conductors

b.

c.

d.

e. f. g.

56

h.

Arsonists generally- use a lighter or match, but may use a variety of devices, i.e., road flares, matchbook devices, etc. Look for multiple points of origin. Firearms, which under certain circumstances may blow sparks of burning powder into dry vegetation. Spontaneous combustion, limited to very specific types of circumstances. Overheated machinery which may be in contact with combustibles. Miscellaneous objects, sometimes present among trash, including glass that can focus the sun's rays (burning glass effect). Sparks from any source, such as, impacts of metal with rocks or static discharge. Fireworks and/or explosives igniting dry vegetation or wood shingles.

i.

j.

k.

l.

m.

n.

5.

Evidence a. b. Identify human and/or animal travel in the area. Photograph fire scene and the burn indicators that lead to the area of origin. Photograph footprints and tire tracks. Identify evidence of haste in leaving the area. Evidence of area use by humans. Evidence of accidental fire cause. Evidence of incendiarism: flares, device remains, placement of types of fuels, multiple points of origin and accelerants.

c. d. e. f. g.

57

h.

Evidence collection: (1) (2) (3) Use proper containers. Photograph all evidence prior to picking up. If possible, sketch the scene and the location of the evidence.

E.

Explosions An explosion is defined as the sudden and rapid escape of gases from a confined space, accompanied by high temperatures, violent shock, and a loud noise. To clarify, an explosion is the result of an unstable compound or condition returning to a more stable condition with great speed. It will be accompanied by the release of energy, heat, light, and noise. Two pressure waves result from an explosion. The first is positive wave which is the force of the explosion travel away from the center of the explosion in all directions. second or negative pressure results from the first and is air rushing back toward the center of the explosion to the to fill the vacuum created by the passage of the positive wave. The negative wave has about 60 percent of the power developed by the positive wave. When responding to a possible explosion, keep alert as the scene is approached. The clues to look for in an explosion are any physical evidence of forces exerted on the structural components of the structure. This could include broken glass or debris from the structure located some distance from the involved structure. Having determined an explosion has occurred, the next step is to determine the origin of the explosion.

58

1.

Types of explosions a. Mechanical A mechanical explosion is any explosion that occurs within a container or vessel. This. type of explosion must involve an unstable physical condition which consists of pressure on one side of the container and a pressure on the other side of the container that is higher or lower. This condition might only occur for a millisecond as in the case of a pipebomb. b. Chemical A chemical explosion is caused by the rapid conversion of a chemical compound into gases. This compound may be either solid or liquid. The conversion takes place in an extremely short span of time and is accompanied by shock waves, a loud noise, and high temperatures. c. Nuclear A nuclear explosion occurs within the atom of an element and may be either nuclear fission or nuclear fusion.

2.

Common sources of explosions Gases - natural gas, sewer gas (methane) , LPG, and other flammable gases. Flammable Liquids - gasoline, solvents, cleaning fluids, and other low-flash point flammable liquids. Dusts - combustible metal, agriculture material, plastics, and carbonaceous dusts. Unstable or explosive chemicals. Steam, air and electrical explosions. Explosives and blasting agents - commercial types of dynamite and TNT, bombs, and improvised explosive devices (IED).

59

3.

Indicators of accidental-explosions Types of explosions and their indicators depend on what caused the initial explosion. a. Natural gas Depending on the amount of natural gas that fills the structure before it reaches a source of ignition will determine the amount of damage. Natural gas will travel from room to room filling all areas. Because it is lighter than air, it will travel upward until it reaches an area that is blocked. It will continue to fill the structure even flowing into a basement area or sub-floor. It often finds its way into sewers, pipe chases, and tunnels. It will continue in this manner until it dissipates or reaches a source of ignition. You will frequently find the structure bulging from all sides where the explosion has traveled from room to room. You might find external walls blown outward with interior walls still intact. This phenomenon occurs due to the pressure being equal on both sides of the interior wall at the moment of the explosion. Since natural gas is lighter than air you will normally find the upper portion of the structure more heavily damaged than the lower areas. A natural gas explosion will not always cause a fire. b. Liquid petroleum gas Liquid petroleum gas such as butane and propane are heavier than air and tend to seek lower levels in structures such as basements, sub-floors, and crawl spaces. The walls of a structure will frequently be blown outward from the bottom floor plate or sub-floor. Another danger of LPG is that when its container is heated, it is subject to a B.L.E.V.E.. This usually occurs from direct flame impingement on the container.

60

c.

Gasoline Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and tend to flow along at floor level. If a source of ignition ignites the vapors, the resulting explosion will usually blow out the lower portions. of the structure depending on the amount of vapors present. You will usually have a fire after a flammable liquid explosion.

d.

Dust explosions Under favorable conditions, a dust explosion can occur in any industrial occupancy where combustible dusts are created and allowed to accumulate. Many materials are innocuous when intact, but become explosive when finely divided to dust. Almost all dusts are explosive with the exception of sand, rock, earth, and similar materials. In some ways dusts are more violent than flammable liquid vapors. vapors are usually dissipated by normal air currents where dusts seem to settle and build up throughout the interior of a structure. Consequently, a very small explosion may dislodge the dust and put it into suspension throughout the interior. A secondary explosion may occur and cause much greater damage. The probability of a dust explosion is directly related to the type of business and the structure involved. A dust explosion would tend to cause damage throughout the interior as opposed to one specific area. This type of explosion will not necessarily result in a fire.

e.

Backdraft A backdraft is the rapid combustion of flammable gases that have been heated above their ignition point. This condition develops due to insufficient oxygen. It usually occurs during the smoldering phase of a fire as oxygen is introduced into the confined space.

61

A backdraft condition can usually be recognized by the heavy, thick, yellow/gray smoke puffing out of the structure with little or no signs of flame. As entry is made, a whistling sound can be heard as air is sucked into the structure. f. Boilers and water heaters These explosions occur when the internal pressure becomes too great for the container. There will not normally be a fire and evidence of the container should be found. Examine the container as it should show signs of an internal explosion. g. Electrical vaults and transformers The location of the incident itself should lend some clue as to the source of the explosion. An example would be where an explosion occurs in an underground vault. You might find the steel cover completely lifted off and some distance away from the vault. 4. Indicators of criminal explosions When responding to the scene of a possible explosion, approach the scene carefully. Conduct a preliminary examination and attempt to determine the source of the explosion. If an explosive device (pipebomb, etc.) is found or it is determined the explosion was caused from an explosive device, follow the procedures outlined in the Fire Department Manual of Operations. Pipebombs are the most common type of Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The container can be common galvanized pipe or PVC plastic pipe which is being used with more frequency. Pipebombs are usually filled with either black powder or smokeless gun powder. These powders are a low order explosive (3000 feet per second or less velocity). The shattering effect is much less than found in high order explosives (3000 feet per second or greater velocity).

62

Low order explosions can- usually be recognized by the non-shattering, pushing type effect. Walls appear to be pushed outward, ceilings are raised, and windows and doors may be intact even though they are blown out of their frames. A black powder pipebomb explosion will usually leave black carbon deposits in the area where the bomb or device was placed. The fragments of a pipebomb will usually be long, ripped-type fragments. High explosives devices - typical high explosives are Nitroglycerin, TNT, Dynamite, Military C-3 and C-4 plastic explosives. High explosives have a shock wave of approximately 25,000 feet per second. High explosives shatter nearby windows and even windows at a greater distance. Walls will be blown out and fragmented. Debris will be found in small pieces at a great distance from the scene. There may be a crater where the device was located. The device will shatter and fragment into very small sharp-edged pieces. 5. Safety at the scene of a bombing A bomb scene is an extremely dangerous area. The possibility of a second, unexploded device must be considered. In recent years, numerous bombing incidents have been complicated by the presence of a secondary device designed to detonate at such a later time as to injure police and fire department personnel. The chance of undetonated explosives remaining in the immediate area presents imminent danger. Downed power lines, gas leaks, weakened structures, and other bomb devices also pose potential danger to persons at the scene. The Incident Commander should expend every effort to secure the scene and protect the evidence.

63

IV.

CAUSE DETERMINATION A. Elements of a Fire Cause All fires must be investigated. A critical fact to keep in mind is that all fires should be considered ACCIDENTAL at the beginning of each investigation. Examination of the fire scene will either confirm the accidental nature of the fire or will establish circumstances to the contrary. An arsonist's main line of defense rests with the possibility of an accidental cause. As a result, efforts must be made to rule out all reasonable causes for the fire. There are three main elements involved in the determination of every fire cause. These elements include Heat, Fuel, and an Event which brings the two together. 1. Heat Heat energy can result from: a. An exothermic (heat-producing) reaction between fuel and an oxidant where "heat" is one of the products of combustion. Spontaneous heating when characteristics of certain materials cause a heat-producing reaction with or without exposure to an external heat source. This process can exist as a straight chemical interaction (such as sodium metal with water), a process of oxidation or a fermentation (known as "thermogenesis"). Some common substances subject to spontaneous heating are: alfalfa products, charcoal, fish oils and by-products, and certain metals in fine particle form. c. Electrical activity such as: (1) Overcurrent Heat buildup in insulation adjacent to wiring. (2) High Resistance Fault and material Heat buildup caused by imperfect electrical path such as frayed wires or poor points of contact.

b.

64

(3)

Arcing/Sparking Heat buildup caused by an arc, where a spark travels across a gap. This is a normal occurrence in an electrical device, where the glowing particles are confined within the unit. If this happens in an extension cord, a fire may result.

(4)

Lightning The discharge of electrical energy from a cloud to an opposite charge on another cloud or the ground.

d.

Mechanical activity (1) Frictional Heat The mechanical energy used in overcoming the resistance to motion when two solids are rubbed together. Example: a drive belt slipping against the surface of a pulley. (2) Friction Sparks Resulting from the impact of two hard surfaces, one of which is usually metal. Depending on the metal, the temperature of these sparks can range from 500 to over 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, normally above the ignition temperatures of flammable materials. Example: a tool striking the surface of a concrete floor and causing sparks.

e.

Heat of Compression Heat energy released when a gas is compressed. Temperature of a gas will normally increase when compressed.

65

f.

Nuclear activity Heat energy is released from the nucleus of an atom along with pressure and nuclear radiation. In the process of nuclear fission, energy is released by splitting the nucleus of an atom. In nuclear fusion, energy is released by the joining of two nuclei. The energy released by nuclear means is commonly a million times greater than the energy released by an ordinary chemical reaction.

2.

Fuel The ignition of a fire is dependent upon: a. b. Mass (amount) of the fuel State of the fuel (1) The fuel can consist of any solid material such as wood products or plastics. Fuel can be in the form of a liquid such as any flammable fluid, either acting as a primary fuel or as an accelerant. The fuel can be in gaseous form such as hydrogen gas, methane gas, propane etc.

(2)

(3) 3. Event

An event which brings the heat source and the fuel together can be: a. b. an Action (Acts) a Lack of Action (omissions)

66

B.

Accidental Fire Causes 1. Electrical a. Introduction Electricity is blamed for being the cause of many fires only because it may be present in a suspected area of origin. Electricity is capable of, and responsible for, causing fires. However, its mere presence at the area of origin is not sufficient to allege it is responsible for the fire. A thorough investigation of the electrical system in question must be undertaken to corroborate or eliminate the probability of an electrical failure. b. Basic Electricity All matter is composed of molecules which, in turn, are composed of atoms. The atom is the building block of matter. An atom is composed of a positive nucleus (protons and neutrons) surrounded by the negative electrons which rotate around the nucleus of positive charges in the same manner that the planets revolve around the sun in our solar system. To comprehend electricity, an understanding of the following terms is essential. c. Definitions ELECTRON - The very small negatively charged particles which are practically weightless and circle (orbit) the nucleus of an atom. FREE ELECTRONS - Electrons that have left their orbit in an atom and are wandering free through a material. ELECTRIC CURRENT - The movement of free electrons. POSITIVE CHARGE - A deficiency of electrons. NEGATIVE CHARGE - A surplus of electrons. CONDUCTORS - Materials that permit the free movement of many electrons such as silver, copper.- aluminum, zinc, brass, and iron (listed in order of ability to conduct).

67

INSULATORS Materials that do not permit the free movement of many electrons such as dry air, glass, ceramics, mica, rubber, and plastics (listed in order of their ability to insulate). POTENTIAL (VOLTS) - The ability of a source of electrons to overcome resistance. As compared to a water system, it would be water pressure. CURRENT (AMPERES) Rate at which electrons pass through a circuit. As compared to a water system, it would be gallons per minute. RESISTANCE (OHMS) - Opposition offered by a material to the flow of current. As compared to a water system, it would be friction loss. POWER (WATTS) - Rate of energy use or dissipation. The product of POTENTIAL x CURRENT (115 volts x 1 amp = 115 watts). DIRECT CURRENT - Current that always maintains a direction of electron flow. ALTERNATING CURRENT - Current will periodically change the direction of electron flow (regulated at 60 times per second in the United States). FAULT - A partial or total failure in the insulation or continuity of a conductor. GROUND FAULT - An insulation failure between a conductor and ground, where the failure is not to a grounded conductor normally intended to carry current in the circuit. SHORT CIRCUIT - A fault where there is an abnormal connection between two points of different voltage in a circuit. A short circuit occurs between conductors that are intended to carry current under normal operating conditions.

68

d.

Types of Electricity (1) Static Electricity Static electricity means electricity at rest on the surface of a body as distinguished from the commonly recognized type of electricity known as electricity in motion. The terms are primarily used to describe effects, such as the sparks observed when one walks across wool carpeting on a dry day and touches a metal object. This is compared to the completely different effects of electricity in motion which are the production of heat and light and magnetic forces such as used to drive electric motors. Static has also been known as frictional electricity since it is generated by rubbing or contact and separation of the surfaces of two dissimilar bodies. When sufficient charge has accumulated, a spark or electrical discharge may be formed. It is this resulting spark which often causes the ignition of flammable materials. Any process that involves the storage and handling of flammable gases and liquids, combustible fibers and dusts, and similar easily ignitable materials can be subject to the fire hazard of static electricity. Although there is no generation of static electricity in the actual storage of flammable liquids, static charges are produced during the turbulence in mixing, flow, or discharge of liquids or gases. Sparks from static charges occur more frequently in the dry winter weather than in the hot, humid months of summer.

69

(2)

Current Electricity Electrical energy is transferred through conductors by means of the movement of free electrons that migrate from atom to atom inside the conductor. Each electron moves a very short distance to a neighboring atom where it replaces one (or more) of its electrons by forcing it out of its outer orbit. This continues until the movement of electrons has been transmitted throughout the length of the conductor. Current electricity may be generated in various ways. One way is through the use of an electric generator. In this device, a magnetic field is brought near a coil of wire. As long as the magnetic field is changing, that is, the coil or magnet is in motion, a current will be produced in the coil. Another way of setting electricity in motion is by the use of chemical energies in an electrical cell (a group of cells is called a battery). If we wish to have the electrical energy do useful work, we must provide an appropriate electrical path for the current to flow through. In this respect, it is similar to a water circuit. If we want to do something with water, we must have a path to pass it through (a pipe) . Voltage can be thought of as the electrical pressure forcing the electrons through the circuit and current as the electron rate.

70

Any time a current of electricity is flowing, a magnetic field will also be generated. A magnetic field is developed around any wire carrying an electric current. If the wire is wound into a coil, the magnetic field will be concentrated. This is the basis of an electromagnet. Whenever a conductor is moved through a magnetic field, an electric current will be generated in the conductor. An electric generator works on the principle that a coil of wire moves through a magnetic field. An electric motor is exactly the opposite. A coil of wire is in a magnetic field in the motor. When a current is sent through the coil, there is a magnetic field produced by the coil in the opposite direction to the magnetic field normally present in the motor. This causes the motor to rotate. The design of a circuit can be such that one of these effects (heat or magnetism) can be made greater than the other, but we can never completely eliminate any one of them. In electric heaters, the purpose is to convert electrical energy into as much heat as possible. We have no use f or the magnetism which is produced. However, it is present around the heating coils as well as around the conducting cable. In an electric motor, the desired product is magnetism, heat being undesirable. The electrons passing through a conductor constantly collide with other electrons. This causes heat to be produced. The greater the current, the more heat produced. If the size of the conductor is undersize, it can become very hot and become a possible ignition source. Some materials are better conductors of electricity than others. In other words they will transmit electrons better than other materials.

71

Metals are generally considered to be good conductors of electricity. On the other hand, materials such as glass, stone, plastics and synthetic textiles resist the flow of electricity, and as nonconductors, are used as insulators. (3) Conduction Heating The heating of conductors used to convey current is negligible under ordinary circumstances. The codes limit the current a conductor can carry and therefore the amount of heat generated. This limit depends upon the size of a conductor, its composition, and the type of insulating covering. Where these limiting currents are exceeded (where a conductor is overloaded), the generation of heat may become a hazard. A small overload has only a minor affect on overheating due to the "built-in" safety factor. For instance, a 30 ampere fuse used instead of a 20 ampere size is a 50% overload, but even with this amount of overload, some time would be required to feel the temperature rise of the conductor. Extension cords are easily overloaded because they are usually small in diameter and rated for less ampacity than the service they are plugged into, such as an 18 AWG lamp cord plugged into a 20 ampere receptacle circuit. Careful examination for signs of entrapped heat will be indicated where identification labels are around the cord, or where the card enters the plug. If the condition exists for a long period of time, the insulation will become separated from the wire conductor. Consider the situation where a small #18 AWG extension cord is plugged into an appliance circuit protected at 20 amperes. In case of a short circuit in the extension cord, possibly from frayed or cracked insulation, the current has to be 400% of rated value for the breaker to function (#18 AWG rated at 5 amperes).

72

This could cause overheating of the extension cord. The circuit feeding the receptacle would not be overheated since, if properly insulated, it would have been #12 AWG and rated at 20 amperes. Conduction heating heats the full -length of the wire all the way back to the box. Extreme overcurrent can cause the wires to reach fusion temperature and when the initial point fuses, an arc can form. If the insulation becomes destroyed first, the resulting bare wires will touch and arc. When these things occur inside metal boxes or conduit, the failures are usually trapped and of little concern. However, if the failure has sufficient energy to burn a hole through the metal enclosure, a fire may result. Frequently, the examination of the wiring in an unburned area can provide useful information such as its age and general condition. If it is older and the insulation has become brittle and cracked, electrical problems should be considered. If a section of undamaged wire between the suspected area and the supply can be found, the condition of the conductor can provide some useful information. If the insulation and wire are in a new condition with no tarnishing of the conductor, it would be unlikely that overcurrent occurred to the degree where ignition had taken place. Electrical arcing, however would still have been possible under these conditions. When an electric current flows through a single circuit path, the current (amperes) is the same in all parts of the circuit. The temperature at any point is dependent on the electrical resistance at that point and also upon the rate that heat can be transferred away. Referring back to the previous example, the #18 AWG wire has a higher resistance per unit length than the #12 AWG. Therefore, it will operate at a higher temperature.

73

Heating of electrical wires also occurs from loose or poorly made connections and terminations. Cords under rugs and carpets or cords left coiled up, entrap heat causing insulation overheating with subsequent degradation and possible failure. 1 (4) Contact Resistance In order to act as an ignition source, whether it be by overcurrent, sparks, or arcs, there must be a flow of current. AN ELECTRIC CIRCUIT HAVING VOLTAGE SUPPLIED TO IT BUT NO CURRENT FLOW WILL NOT CAUSE IGNITION. When current flows through a circuit, heat is produced throughout the circuit in proportion to the resistance at any particular point. The current flow through a circuit is inversely proportioned to the resistance: the greater the resistance, the less the current flow. The total resistance of a circuit determines the current flow (at a certain voltage) and thus the total rate of heat production (watts). The distribution of the resistance throughout the circuit determines where the heat will be concentrated. The points of high resistance can be where a portion of the conductor size is smaller, where the conductor material is different (as in an electric heater), and at connection points (ends) where poor electrical contact or splices are frequently made. Good practice calls for the latter to be made in protective enclosures.

74

In order to minimize heat buildup at connections, the following is mandatory: The full cross-sectional area of the conductor be maintained. Positive contact of the conductors be maintained. This means that no oxide or other film or foreign material appears between the conductors. An example of the first case would be the use of the inexpensive "zip" cord plugs that are installed by merely pushing the cord into a slot in the opened plug and them pushing it back together. The connection into the wire is made by needle-like points being pushed through the insulation and into the conductor. The cross-sectional area is diminished at this point and if used for anything other than perhaps a clock or small lamp, excessive heating can occur. e. Residential electrical systems Almost every residential building in the United States has a potential of 230 volts service. The electrical power enters the structure through three wires. One of the wires is connected to earth by a ground rod or metallic water system. Because it is the same potential as the earth, it is called the grounded conductor or neutral. The voltage of the other two conductors has a potential from the grounded conductor of 115 volts. The potential between the two ungrounded conductors would be 230 volts.

75

The incoming power flows through the service entrance conductors to the watt-hour meter which monitors and records the amount of electricity used. The current continues to flow into the main service panel which may be a circuit breaker or fuse panel. To this point, no over-current device protects the service other than the primary utility company fuse which is calibrated to protect the transformer windings from overload. The power passes through the main circuit breaker or fuse which monitors the total power and protects the service equipment from overload. From here it is divided into separate smaller sub-panels and/or circuit breakers or fuses to feed branch circuits which supply lighting, receptacles, and appliances. A 15 or 20 amp device protects general loads and higher rated devices are used for fixed loads such as electric ranges, air conditioners and water heaters. Complete building circuits consist of: Overcurrent protective device such as circuit breakers or fuses in a panel or box. Conductors (branch circuits). Switches and/or receptacles. (1) Overcurrent protective device The conventional wall outlet receptacles are energized by an ungrounded and a grounded conductor to provide 120 volts power between the two parallel blades. The ungrounded (hot) conductor supplying a wall outlet is protected by a fuse or circuit breaker that protects the wires in the wall supplying the outlet. The rating of the fuse or circuit breaker is usually 15 amperes or 20 amperes depending on the size of the wire routed to the outlet. The fuse or circuit breaker is designed so it will operate in the event there is excessive current in the ungrounded conductor such that the wire insulation will be overheated.

76

It is important to note that a fuse or a circuit breaker has an inverse current-time operating relationship. This means that the higher the current, the more rapid the operation. A fuse or circuit breaker protecting an outlet is designed to protect the wiring in the wall from being overheated. Consequently, the fuse or circuit breaker will carry its rated current indefinitely but will actuate in less than 1 hour at 125% of rating and in less than 2 minutes at 200% of rating. A 15 ampere circuit breaker can carry 30 amperes for up to two minutes and be within specifications. Because of the high values for operating current, fuses or breakers offer no primary protection from electrical shock nor can they prevent fires from high resistance or arcing faults. Lethal currents are on the order of 0.1 amperes, well below fuse or circuit breaker operating points, while fires can be started at currents well below 15 amperes. THE FUSE OR CIRCUIT BREAKER CAN BE EXPECTED TO PROTECT THE WIRING IN THE WALL - NOTHING MORE. (2) Conductors The heat produced within a conductor is dependent on the resistance and the current flow. The size requirements of a conductor depends upon temperature, size, and material. Types of Material Insulation quality basically is dependent on the type of material and its thickness. In addition, important considerations are its ability to withstand elevated temperatures and moisture. Wire insulation usually encountered are rubber, plastic, and asbestos. Other good insulating materials are glass and ceramics.

77

Conductors are, generally made of copper or aluminum. Solid wires are used in the smaller sizes and for purposes not requiring flexibility. Larger sizes and wires needing flexibility are constructed of multiple strands of smaller wires. Wire inside a metal conduit will rarely short circuit except when the insulation is destroyed by external heat. If it does short, the arcing is generally retained inside where it cannot cause ignition. of course if the arcing burns through the conduit, it can then cause ignition of nearby combustibles. f. Temperature considerations How high a temperature can be tolerated? This is dependent upon the rate of heat generation. The temperature must remain below the point where the conductor will melt or be otherwise made ineffective. It also must be below the temperature where the insulation will be damaged. (1) Insulation Rating All building wire will have the code printed on the covering or jacket of the wire or cable. Common building wire is rated for continuous service at 140 degrees F. maximum. T" "R" "H" "HH" (2) Thermoplastic Rubber Higher Temperature Higher Temperature Insulation Color Grounding Wire Neutral (Grounded) Wire Line (Hot) Line (Hot) 140 degrees 140 degrees 167 degrees 194 degrees

Bare or Green White Black Other Colors

78

(3)

Size Considerations The conductor must be of sufficient size to be mechanically sound. A small appliance may require only a very small current, but a very small wire might be too fragile and break. The conductor must be of such size so voltage drop is not excessive. Generally, size must be adequate to supply the load without exceeding a 2% drop in voltage. Allowable Ampere rating of Common Copper Wire Wire Size 18 16 14 12 10 08 06 stranded solid solid solid solid 7 strand 7 strand Amperes 5 10 15 20 30 40 55 Field Gage

1 dime 1 penny 1 nickel 2 dimes 2 pennies 7 #14 AWG

(4)

Receptacles, Switches, and Plugs Wall outlet receptacles installed after 1962 have provisions for two parallel blades and a "U" grounding blade on the attachment plug. The larger parallel blade receptacle is connected to the white (grounded) conductor at the silver colored screw on the receptacle. The smaller parallel blade is connected to the ungrounded (hot) conductor at the brass colored screw. The "U" grounding blade of the receptacle is grounded by a green or bare wire or by the grounded conduit. The three blade attachment plug used to energize equipment provides 120 VAC between the two parallel blades in the receptacle when plugged into a receptacle. The equipment "U" grounding blade on the plug is connected, by a green wire, to all exposed metal parts on the equipment. Under normal conditions, there is no current in this equipment grounding blade.

79

In the event of an insulation failure in the equipment such that the exposed metal parts of the equipment come in contact with an energized conductor, the equipment grounding conductor provides a path for the electricity so there will be sufficient current in the energized conductor to actuate the fuse or circuit breaker protecting the hot conductor. The equipment is thus de-energized. The equipment grounding conductor plays no part in the normal operation of the equipment, but it is an important safety feature. Without the equipment grounding conductor, a fault in the equipment, such as an energized conductor coming in contact with the exposed metal surface, may or may not cause the fuse to blow or the circuit breaker to trip. it would depend on whether there was a high or low resistance path to ground from the exposed metal part. The chief hazard associated with switches is the arcing produced when the switching device is operated. Many switches are either so designed or are enclosed to safeguard against this hazard. When an electric circuit which is carrying current is interrupted either intentionally as with a knife switch, or accidentally, as when a contact at a terminal becomes loose, an arc is produced. The intensity of the arc depends in a great measure on the current and voltage of the circuit. If the temperature of the electric arc is high, any combustible material in its vicinity may be ignited by the heat. An electric arc may not only ignite combustible material in its vicinity, such as the insulating covering of the conductor, but may also fuse the metal of the conductor. Hot sparks from burning combustible material and hot metal are thrown about and may set fire to other combustible material.

80

g.

Conducting the investigation Regardless of where the fire started or where the area of origin is located, all suspected electrical failure investigations should always start at the electrical service entrance. ALWAYS CHECK TO SEE IF THERE IS MORE THAN ONE SERVICE! Be absolutely certain power is shut off to all services. The size or ampacity of the service should be known. The service' voltage should be known. Determine the main fuse or circuit breaker rating. Because all power used in the building enters through the service equipment, examination of the service panel should give you some idea if over-fusing, overloading, or other types of abuse are present. Alterations or additions to the electrical system usually begin at the service panel. Always check for doubling up of circuits such as more than one wire under a terminal screw. Note the wiring method used from the service or distribution panel. Some, types are nonmetallic sheathed cable (Romex), armored (BX), knob & tube, thin wall (TW) conduit, rigid steel conduit, or plastic conduit. Check for workmanship to see if it is a professional installation or the work of a handyman. Handyman work is sometimes indicated by flattened or kinked metal conduits, nails instead of straps to support conduit, overfilled or crowded wires in conduit, or Romex staples drawn tight into cables damaging the insulation. Check how splices are made in junction boxes. Check if grounding wires are just twisted together or are they fastened under a grounding screw. Are there covers on all electrical panels, junction boxes, switches, and receptacles?

81

(1)

Examination of overcurrent protective devices: Fuses of too large capacity or circuit breakers with too high a setting. Circuit breakers made inoperative by blocking or taping of the tripping element (old type). Plug fuses which have blown and in which pennies have been inserted or the metal of the fuse-holder has been cut back or in which a wire has been inserted. Cartridge fuses which have blown and nails, wires, or other metal have been inserted. Refillable fuses in which additional strips have been placed. Fuses or circuit breakers in poor mechanical condition. Fuses without enclosures in the vicinity of combustibles. Doors or covers of fuse-cabinets removed or open. Corrosion of fuses, circuit breakers, or enclosures.

(2)

Examination of wiring Uninterrupted runs of wire or cable rarely cause fires unless the wire or cable has been damaged. Check places where a nail or leg of a staple may have been driven into the insulation or areas of sharp bends. A common cause of wire failure is abrasion against a sharp edge where the wire enters or leaves an electrical box or equipment.

82

Over the years, some fire scene investigators have accepted the presence of balled conductors (beading) as prima facie indications of electrical arcing. Actual burning tests have demonstrated such symptoms occur normally without the necessity of electric current. Therefore, fire scene investigators should show extreme caution in reporting the presence of balled conductors as symptoms of electrical arcing. Close examination of the questioned wire usually will provide useful information. The conditions of melting from external fire heat are different from those of electrical arcing. When wires melt from external fire heat, there is usually only a small temperature difference between the parts that have melted and the unmelted sections. In this situation, the wire section has been raised to the fire temperature and only a small number of additional degrees are needed to produce the balled or pointed symptoms. By contrast, when wires are subjected to arcing, the wire section is at ambient temperature while the arc is at many thousands of degrees. The two different situations are quite discernible by examination. Of course, as with other things, there are gray areas where both have occurred and also situations where high temperatures have left the wire in such poor condition that the indications have been minimized or destroyed. (a) Heat exposure As copper wire is fire heated, there are changes. First, oxidation produces discoloration. As the melting temperature is reached, blistering and bubbling occurs from degassing. During melting, the striations caused by the manufacturing process flow together and there is a general flow of the molten copper resulting in balling and showing areas of erosion with a rough surface.

83

When the wires are orientated in a vertical position, the molten copper can run down to a ball and then it drops off and leaves a pointed end. When the ball remains, the portion immediately above it shows a reduced diameter where the metal flowed from. There is no sharp line of demarcation showing points of melting and non-melting. Stranded wires flow together and form a solid mass. Sometimes the strands are discernible but they have been fused together and are not separable. Often several wires inside a common conduit will fuse together. These symptoms will be seen whenever a fire has attained the melting temperature. Usually it is localized since the melting temperature is slightly above the usual fire temperature. The condition of wires frequently attributed to electrical arcing i.e., areas showing drop-shaped, balled and pointed formations, are most often the result of localized heating where some locations along the wire have attained a higher temperature than others. The melting temperature of copper is listed as 1981 degrees F. which is somewhat above the average temperature of a typical fire. In other words, the copper wire during a typical fire is slightly below its melting temperature. In this condition a small localized area of higher temperature, such as caused by an electrical arc, a concentrated fuel leak, or possibly optimized combustion conditions results in localized melting of the copper wire as previously characterized.

84

(b)

Electrical faulting Electrical arcing, by contrast, does not usually result in random melting, erosion, fusion of strands, and other symptoms indicative of non-localized heating. The characteristic of electrical arcing is the formation of a sharp demarcation line between the arcing area and the unmelted wire. Stranded wire exhibits the individual strands immediately to the point where the arc occurred. When energized wires make contact and the contact is not a secure connection, such as two bare wires touching without any mechanical pressure, an electrical arc is usually formed. Its magnitude and duration will depend on the overcurrent protection (fuses or breakers) , capacity, and the physical conditions under which the wires contact each other. If the resulting arc is not confined inside a suitable enclosure, the high temperature of the arc can readily ignite surrounding combustible materials. This is sometimes referred to as primary arcing. Very frequently, however, signs of electrical arcing are not indicative of electrical ignition since most wire insulation materials in general use are combustible. Many times arcing is the result of wires touching as a result of the insulation destruction by the fire and while the appearance of the wire remains indicates arcing, the arcing actually was a result of the insulation degradation of the fire rather than the ignition cause (secondary arcing).

85

(c)

Melting v. arcing (helpful hints): Electrically Caused Insulation no longer bonded (burned internally) Pitting of wire or connector Metal splatter near fault Fire Caused Insulation tightly bonded (burned externally) Melted wire with pointed end Necking down of wire Usually electrical, sometimes Fire Caused Balling of copper at end of wire Melting of conductors Fusing together of wire strands

(d)

Hazards associated with wiring systems. Corrosion of the metal covering or enclosures of conductors. Covers of outlet or junction boxes removed. Corrosion or loosening of supports. Conductors of "open-wiring" systems separated from their supports, in contact with each other, or in contact with pipes, woodwork, or other conducting or combustible materials. Conductor insulation deteriorated from age or mechanical injury, or from exposure to heat, moisture, or vapors.

86

Conductors overloaded. Joints not properly soldered, taped, or otherwise made. Wiring installed for temporary use and not replaced. (3) Examination of connections, receptacles and switches. Hazards most likely to be found: Pitting or burning of contacts at points where circuit is made or broken. Overheating due to poor contact oroverload. Corrosion Enclosures removed or not effective. Loose wire to terminal connections. h. Evidence handling When examining or securing evidence, if wires are connected to screw terminals of any kind, it is better to cut the wires rather than attempt to unscrew the screws as fire embrittled plastic insulation will be damaged. Stagger the cuts so that you can reconstruct the evidence if necessary. i. Summary As in other investigative fields, it is especially true in the investigation of a suspected electrical fire, that common sense is a major asset. It is the improper installation and use of electricity that makes it dangerous. A fire scene investigator should be knowledgeable in the basics and be able to examine the wiring remains and determine if it is adequate and make some judgement of its conformance to good wiring practice..

87

Tracing an electrical system in a burned structure can be a tedious and time-consuming task. While any portion of the wiring remains might yield useful information, the most fruitful places are where connections are made. This includes the service entrance box and other fuse and breaker boxes, the switches, receptacles, and, fixtures. Particular attention should be given to high current circuits such as heaters, stoves and dryers. When part of the structure is undamaged, an examination of this wiring will tend to show the condition of the wiring before the fire. In addition to a thorough scene examination, a great deal of information can be obtained from interviews of witnesses, occupants, owners, and equipment operators. Had there been any recent repairs, modifications, or installations of any type to the electrical system(s)? Had other types of repairs or work not associated with the electrical system been done that may have inadvertently had an affect on the electrical system? Had there been any unusual odors, flickering of lights, circuit breakers that continually tripped or fuses that required replacement? Did all electrical appliances operate efficiently and properly? Traditionally, as in other fields, fire scene investigators have used certain criteria for judging electrical fire symptoms. Unfortunately, some are not as reliable as once believed. Some are outlined here: Ignition by slightly oversize fuse or breaker. When a slightly higher-rated fuse or breaker is found than the rated capacity of the wire, it probably is not the fire cause. Current carrying capacities are conservatively rated. Balled wire ends. This condition can be the result of fire melting, as well as from electrical arcing.

88

Loose wire insulation (sleeving). If the insulation is loose, it probably is from overcurrent. If it is not loose, overcurrent should not be ruled out. The particular type of insulation should be tested to determine its thermal changes. Open circuits causing fires. There must be a flow of current for ignition. Mere voltage (potential) on wiring will not cause ignition. There must be a current flow (amps). These forms can be short circuit, overload, insulation degradation, etc. Energy Was there sufficient electrical energy (heat) present to cause ignition of the surrounding materials? Arcing - cause or result. Did the arcing cause the fire or was the arcing the result of wires touching that had their insulation burned off by the fire? Is the suspected failure consistent with the burn patterns regarding area of origin and subsequent fire development? Remember that common sense has no substitute. There are no magic potions or cookbook answers. Only ideas and guidelines that hopefully can guide the fire scene investigator. 2. Cigarette caused fires. In recent years smoking related fire deaths have accounted for nearly a third of all residential fire deaths where the cause of fire was known. Seven of every eight smoking related fire deaths where the form of material ignited was known, involved upholstered furniture, mattresses, or bedding. No other types of fires come close to accounting for this large a share of the residential fire fatality problem.

89

The term "careless smoking" as a fire cause is much overused by fire personnel. Legislative history: 1973 - Legislation was passed requiring that any mattress sold in the United States be-cigarette resistant. 1975 - Requirement that every piece of furniture sold in California be flame retardant and smolder resistant. In 1980, this requirement was made more restrictive. Most upholstered furniture (chairs, sofas, etc.) and mattresses are made with cover fabrics and porous stuffing materials whose ignition temperatures (500-700 F.) may be easily exceeded by burning cigarettes. Some upholstery cover fabrics resist cigarette ignition better than others. Wool, nylon, olefin, polyester, and various other synthetic plastics generally melt rather than smolder. Cotton, linen and blends of these fibers (cellulosic fabrics) will ignite from burning cigarettes and smolder Leather will also smolder and silks will not. Filling materials used in upholstered furniture and mattresses consists of cotton batting, urethane foam, foam rubber and polyester or combinations of these. Cotton batting and foam rubber can easily be ignited by burning cigarettes. Urethane foam and polyester will melt under the heat of a cigarette and usually will not ignite. However, under certain circumstances, urethane foam covered by upholstery fabric can be ignited (smolder) and even burst into flames. Such an occurrence might take place in a crevice of a chair or sofa where a foam cushion exists next to a vertical side arm. A smoldering cigarette in this location may easily start a fire.

90

In filling materials, cotton batting is easily identified as is polyester fiberfill. Determining whether a foam material is rubber or urethane can be accomplished by a simple match test by igniting a small piece of material, extinguishing it and smelling the odor of the residual smoke. The two classes of materials give off distinctive and different odors and the identity of the :sample at hand can be obtained by comparison with known foams. If these are not available, foam rubber will smell of burning rubber and polyurethane foam will have a "sweet" odor. Whether a cover fabric is cellulosic or synthetic (plastic) may be determined by applying a match to a sample of the fabric and observing whether it melts, chars or flames. If on extinguishing the flame, a glowing persists, then the fabric is cellulosic (cotton, rayon, linen or blends). If the fabric melts and drips, it is synthetic, for example: polyester, olefin, or nylon. Wool will not sustain combustion from a low heat source and will give off a pungent odor similar to the smell of burning human hair. If the fire cause is suspected of being associated with careless smoking, determine the following: Were smokers in or did they have access to the area prior to the fire? Determine if there is evidence of ash trays, cigarette packages, matches or lighters. Try to determine the manufacture date of the furniture. Smoker type fires typically take from 20 minutes to two hours to develop into the free burning phase. During the development of the fire, heavy products of combustion are formed. The fire begins as the heat source comes in contact with the fuel. Smoke will begin to develop and move upward as the burning continues. As an oxygen regulated fire, it burns slowly and poorly. The heat generated by a smoldering cigarette can vary greatly. Temperatures can be as high as 760 F. measured on the outside of the glowing ash, and 1440 F. measured in the center of the glowing ash.

91

Depending on such factors as brand and freshness, cigarettes can smolder for as long as 30 minutes. Cigarettes in contact with most combustibles usually result in localized charring and extinguish themselves. To initiate a smoldering fire with a cigarette, a form of insulation is usually required. This will allow the heat to build up and increase surface contact. A cigarette falling between a sofa cushion can produce the required insulation. Exception: Cigarettes in open contact with cotton bedding can result in smoldering followed by open flame combustion. One layer of cotton bedding placed over a cigarette will increase the smoldering tip temperature by 100 F. The cigarette must be in contact with a material capable of supporting smoldering ignition. Dense cellulosic fabrics are most dangerous with respect to a smoldering ignition source. Many smoking/ smoldering fires occur in upholstered furnishing, bedding and draperies. The upper layer of material on a piece of furniture acts as an insulator, keeping the heat inside the furniture and regulating the flow of oxygen. Heat is directed downward to the floor and floor damage beneath the furniture is common. Normally this is an area protected from fire damage. Interior temperature increases until temperatures of 2000 F. may be reached. Springs and other metal parts may lose their temper and become annealed. The interior of the piece of furniture becomes more badly charred than the exterior. When the fire reaches the exterior of the piece of furniture, the availability of oxygen is increased. The time required before open flaming combustion occurs may vary with: The type of material coming into contact with the cigarette. Physical arrangement of the piece of furniture.

92

Cigarettes in contact with flammable liquids or gases. Cold ash around burning tip may act as a flame or flash screen thus inhibiting its ability to ignite the material. Ignition may occur when an individual attempts to light a cigarette with either a match or lighter. Note: Under laboratory conditions, the Bureau of Home Furnishings has never successfully ignited either flammable liquids or gas when a cigarette was used as the ignition source. Cigarettes as an ignition source of dried vegetation. Often overused as an ignition source. The moisture content of the air and surrounding vegetation must be taken into consideration. Burn patterns of the smoking/smoldering fire are: Fire taking a long time to develop. Large amounts of products of combustion (smoke) in and around the fire scene. Annealed springs in furniture. Fire damage to floor below furniture. Damage to interior of furniture greater than the exterior. Indications of fire patterns leading back to a piece of furniture. 3. Other causes Without exception, simple principles apply not only to special types of fires, but to all ordinary fires. The source is some type of flame, spark, or hot object. In every case, the temperature of the source must be in excess of the ignition temperature of the fuel with which this source comes in contact.

93

a.

Low temperature ignition Low temperature ignition can occur when heat as low as 212 degrees F. is applied to cellulose materials over a long period of time. This can occur in areas where combustibles are located near light bulbs or fixtures, steam pipes, flues,, or other low-temperature heat producing appliances. The low heat converts the material to pyrophoric carbon. Pyrophoric carbon results when the constant low-temperature heat source, for example a steam pipe, over a long period of time lowers the ignition temperature of the surrounding wood until it assumes the characteristics, and sometimes the appearance of charcoal, which is notorious for its spontaneous heating qualities. Indicators of low-temperature ignition are: Large charred section of combustible material. The presence of a low-temperature ignition source. The discoloration or baking of the materials.

b.

Light fixtures Improperly installed lighting fixtures may cause fires in adjacent combustible construction material such as joists, studs, insulation, etc. The fire may be slow starting and characteristic of low temperature ignition. There may be deep charring or pyrophoric carbon in the area of origin. In fluorescent fixtures, ballasts have a starting voltage of from 700 to 900 volts and operate at about 400 volts. The transformers are designed to operate continuously at approximately 194 degrees F. Presently manufactured units contain a thermal overload switch which is designed to disable it in the event of overheating. overheating of the ballast can melt and vaporize the pitchblende sometimes igniting combustible ceiling material.

94

c.

Light Bulbs In evaluating light bulbs as a heat source there are three considerations: The wattage of the bulb, the shape or design of the bulb, and the position of the bulb. The following illustrations show the surface temperatures of lamps in various positions: 100 Watt Bulb
446 477 293 280 131 126 460 151 138 194 214 127 120

460 271

198

181

208 228 300

172

191

162

95

Examine the diagram of the surface temperatures of lamps in various positions. Incandescent light bulbs may cause fires by coming in contact with combustibles. An overturned lamp may permit direct contact between a bulb and paper, cloth or wooden surface, but unless the heat from the bulb is confined, it will dissipate and only charring to the exposed surface will result. Check for heavy smoke staining on the bulb fragments. Check for combustibles stuck to bulb fragments. 500 Watt Bulb

588

536 291 291 117 113 495 128 124 239 241 113 109

540 298

160

151 167 174 414

217

239

203

96

d.

Motors Motors, in addition to the windings, have moving parts. Some have centrifugal switches which operate when the motor attains operational speed. Also, some motors require electrical connection to the moving part (armature or rotor) which is accomplished by brushes riding on a moving contact. Electric motors present numerous possibilities for ignition. These are mainly overheating from excessive current due to defective windings or excessive mechanical load which prevents attainment of proper operational speed, and sparks from the centrifugal switch or brushes. These hazards may be overcome by construction of the motor frame so electrical parts are suitably enclosed, or by keeping combustible material away. The starting equipment of a motor presents hazards through the arcing and sparking of current-breaking contacts and through the heat produced in some forms of starting equipment. The hazards of overloading a motor may be overcome by proper overcurrent protection. Examination of motor remains can frequently provide useful information. When electric motors are found to be in a fire area near a suspected point of origin, a thorough evaluation should be made to determine if the fire was deep seated in the windings or if damage resulted from heat conducted to windings from fire outside the motor housing. If the shaft is frozen (will not turn) , it is an indication the heat was internal. If the motor was running during the fire, indications of bits of solder in the interior of the motor housing are sometimes found in motors having a commutator. Friction is indicated if the motor belt is most heavily damaged where it passes over pulleys. if immediately after a fire the motor housing is too hot to touch, but iron or steel of similar size in the same area is relatively cool, it could indicate interior heating of the motor. A stalled motor, or one which is not running up to speed, will overheat from excessive current. This could be caused by numerous things: defective motor, tight bearings, too small a motor for the purpose, frozen or tight load, etc.

97

When an electric motor from a fire is completely charred inside, it does not always indicate the motor was faulty. It could also indicate an overload condition or that something caused jamming and prevented the motor from turning. If the motor was able to operate with the load partially jammed, the fire could have been started from friction of the belts or pulleys. Fires from electric motors can also be caused by bearings that were not lubricated, faulty starting mechanisms, or excessive dirt in the motor. Fire hazards common to motors include: Located too close to combustible material, which may be ignited by arcs or sparks. Location in a damp place, or where subject to corrosive vapors. Lint or dusty condition of surfaces. Burning out, which may be due to overload, stalling of the rotor or in some cases, too low voltage at the motor terminals. Improper over-current protection. Starting equipment that produces arcs and which is located too close to combustible material. Check for a frozen motor shaft. If the motor has bronze bearings, a frozen shaft often results from internal heating. Friction of the motor belt is indicated as a probable cause if the belt is most heavily damaged where it passes over the pulley. A fire from another source will damage the belt most where it is unprotected by the pulleys. Check for evidence of motor wiring insulation having burned extensively. Check for proper motor installation and overload of fuses or breakers.

98

e.

Transformers Electrical motors and transformers have a similarity in that they contain magnet wire that is wound on an iron core. Both can overheat from excessive current flow. This excess can cause insulation destruction which, in the absence of proper overload protection, is capable of causing ignition. Fire problems with transformers have similarities to motors. However, the mechanical functions and high starting current conditions are not applicable. Some electronic equipment containing transformers have been known to start fires because of the absence of proper fuse selection by the manufacturer.

f.

Televisions operating television sets, even the new solid state sets, can develop considerable heat. Cabinets housing such equipment are provided with ventilation openings at the rear and bottom. Installation of televisions into other cabinets or recessed into walls may produce excessive heat build-up. Dust can also build up inside the set which may produce arcing and cause ignition of plastic components. Many televisions operate at up to 32,000 volts in some areas within the set. Failure of these high voltage components may cause extreme heat and ignition. Prior trouble with the set may be an indicator pointing to the set. Try to determine if the set was recently worked on Check for extensive floor damage under the set. This type of fire could produce results similar to furniture fires.

99

g.

Electric blankets and heating pads Electric blankets have been responsible for some fires. The cause of these fires can often be attributed to misuse. Blanket temperatures are controlled by a thermostat usually located at the edge of the blanket. When blankets are partially covered with additional blankets or other materials, it is possible for these areas to become overheated. If the main control switch is left on "high" in a cool room, the current could remain on continuously and cause the covered section of the blanket to overheat. Blankets have been known to cause a fire when tucked between a mattress and padded box spring. It can be difficult to determine whether a bed fire was caused by a blanket or other cause such as smoking in bed unless the fire was detected early and the char path traceable. Sometimes blanket remnants containing the thermostat and control will indicate if the blanket was turned on. Fires caused by electric blankets are frequently due to misuse by the owner. Manufacturers instructions and safe use require that blankets are not to be covered by other bed coverings, or folded or tucked under mattresses. If the blanket was left bunched or piled in one spot, enough heat could build-up to ignite the moisture resistant envelope and in turn the fabric itself.

h.

Appliances Many small appliances have thermal controls, thermostats, and/or current overload protective devices. If small appliances such as coffee makers, irons, deep fryers, frying pans etc. are suspected, check the bimetallic thermal controls or contact points. The contact points often become carbonized or dirty through use and will not completely close, which causes an arc. The arc in turn causes pitting or sticking, sometimes fusing. This allows overheating.

100

Some manufacturers -have historically been lax in providing proper overcurrent protection. Rectifiers have been known to fail and cause power transformers to overheat and cause the insulation to ignite for the lack of proper protective fuse or breaker. Most household electronic equipment is low power apparatus, but situations do occur that have not been anticipated by the designer. Properly used quality appliances in good working condition will not normally start a fire. When examining appliances, observe the flow patterns of melted aluminum or plastic. The direction of flow may indicate the orientation of the object at various temperatures. Plastic melts at approximately 800 F aluminum at 1100 F., brass at 1725 F., and copper at 1980 F. i. Heating equipment Heating devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types. Electric, gas, oil, coal or natural gas heaters are common throughout the country. These appliances could become a fire cause for three reasons: (1) improper installation, (2) human carelessness, and (3) a mechanical malfunction. Improper installation is increasingly common. The lack of technical and mechanical knowledge leads to many improper installations. Check for proper clearance, ventilation and insulation. Compare the situation to manufacturer's instructions or nationally recognized standards. Look for the human factor such as allowing combustible material to accumulate too close to the heating device. Sometimes people put clothing directly on a heating device to dry the clothes. People may use the wrong type of fuel for the particular heating device.

101

Mechanical malfunctions are a rare occurrence because of the safety factors built in to all appliances. However, check the fire box, pipes, flue and controls. Check for excess soot (carbon) which may indicate incomplete combustion. Check for electrical short circuits in the controls. Check for tool marks. A word of caution to the fire scene investigator: When any appliance is suspected of being the cause of a fire, be sure you have investigated carefully. Even the least experienced arsonist wants the fire to appear to have a logical accidental cause. Flammable liquids could be poured around the heating device. Examine all fittings as well as the burn pattern on the floor carefully. j. Cooking equipment Consider the point of origin in respect to the cooking equipment. The point of origin is usually on or over the unit. However the point of origin could be over a sink if the occupant attempted to move and extinguish a burning pan. The point of origin on the kitchen floor may indicate the occupant attempted to remove the burning pan but dropped it. Personal injury is common. Check for evidence of food preparation. If the fire is an accidental fire which ignited during attempts to cook food, there should be evidence of food preparation. Check the time factors. Did the fire occur at normal mealtime? Check the position of the burner/oven controls. Even though the control knobs could be burned away, you should be able to determine the position of the controls by examining all of them. Question the occupants. Remember, no one likes to admit responsibility for a fire, particularly where extensive damage results.

102

Look for proper installation, clearances from cabinets, trash containers, etc. Look for tool marks, missing cover plates and/or screws that could possibly mean recent maintenance or tampering. k. Flammable or Combustible Liquids Flammable and combustible liquids do not "cause" fires. They are contributing factors. A spark or some other ignition source causes a fire or explosion in the presence of flammable vapors. Improper use and storage are the most common "contributing factors" when flammable or combustible liquids are suspected of being at the point or area of origin and the first to be ignited. Flammable liquids are of ten improperly used as a cleaning fluid in washing machines, carpet cleaners etc. Lightweight plastic containers used for liquid storage may become brittle with age and may be punctured easily by a sharp object. The liquid itself may deteriorate the container over a period of time. Glass containers break easily. Metal containers may rust or deteriorate along the seams and slow leaks may develop. Flammable liquid vapors usually settle to the lowest level in the involved area. Vapors can come in contact with an ignition source and flash back over long distances. Some of the most common ignition sources are water heaters, stove/ranges, and electrical equipment such as light switches and motors. The following indicators may point towards a fire involving flammable or combustible liquids: Cleaning equipment found at or near the area of origin. Low burning and heavy charring. Evidence of rapid flame spread. Evidence of an explosion followed by fire. Statements of the occupants.

103

1.

Fireplaces If the fire originated in the attic or roof, check the integrity of the fireplace flue construction. Check for leaks in the chimney. Check for proper spark arrester installation. Try to identify the residue of the ashes in the fireplace. Was the proper fuel being used? Was it recently cleaned out? Did the occupants attempt to accelerate the fire? Examine the damper and determine if it was open or closed. Try to determine if furniture or other objects were placed too close to the fireplace. Radiated heat can start fires. If you have a roof fire without evidence of a fire in the fireplace, check around the neighborhood for other fireplaces which could be emitting sparks or embers. Chimney fires occur because soot, dust, cobwebs, and a variety of flammable materials are allowed to accumulate in the chimney where they may be ignited by a spark from the fire below resulting in a large blaze within the chimney itself. Large quantities of burning debris may be expelled onto the adjacent roof or roofs, causing ignition. m. Open flames and sparks The most obvious heat source is open flames such as matches, candles, furnace and stove pilot lights, trash fires, etc. (1) Matches Matches are the most common device for starting a fire whether its purpose is to ignite the barbecue or ignite the forest. Examination of partially burned paper matches may establish it came from a particular matchbook. (2) Lighters Lighters generally ignite liquid fuel with a spark from an abrasive and steel. Lighters are an obvious substitute for a match. They are rarely left behind.

104

(3)

Candles Candles can often be an accidental source of ignition, particularly during the holiday season since they are used primarily for decoration. The lack of a proper base can cause a problem as well as vibration, wind or other factors which may cause a candle to fall over and ignite any combustibles in the area. Candles have often been used to set fires because of the advantage of a delayed ignition. Candles generally leave a deposit of wax.

(4)

Sparks A spark is an incandescent (glowing or hot) particle, thrown off from a burning substance or resulting from friction. An electric arc is a discharge of electric current through air. A spark differs from, an arc in that a spark is usually instant and the arc persists for a longer time interval. Sparks from welding, cutting, grinding, and friction from machinery are common sources of ignition, especially in a flammable liquid vapor environment. These type fires are usually easy to detect because in most cases there is human activity involved.

(5)

Pilot lights Pilot lights in gas appliances such as water heaters, stove/range and gas heaters are a common source of accidental ignition especially when flammable liquids are being improperly used in the vicinity. Pilot lights have been responsible for numerous explosions and fires in clandestine drug labs since the chemicals used in making the drugs, such as ether, are highly flammable. Ether has a flash point of -20 degrees F.

105

The pilot light for any appliance is not in itself hazardous, but when combustibles and flammables are allowed to come in contact with the flame, through carelessness, fires result Many times routine questioning of the occupants will give the fire scene investigator the answer to what happened. Often the physical evidence will be obvious, such as the nature of the victim's burns, the open can of cleaner, or evidence of a rapid intense flash burn of short duration. (6) Trash and rubbish Trash and rubbish fires are another common source of accidental fire damage to structures, automobiles and grass/brush. Although trash burning is usually illegal, people will "take the chance", especially with the inflated prices at local dump sites. This type of fire should be easily identified by the fire scene investigator because it involves human activity. Trash fires can produce flying embers and can start fires in other locations. n. Natural Fire Causes Spontaneous Heating Spontaneous heating is the process by which a material increases in temperature without drawing heat from its surroundings. Spontaneous heating of a material to its ignition temperature results in spontaneous ignition. Three conditions which have much to do with whether or not spontaneous heating will create a dangerous condition are (1) rate of heat generation, (2) air supply, and (3) insulation properties of the immediate surroundings.

106

In order for spontaneous ignition to occur, sufficient air must be available to permit oxidation, yet not so much air that the heat is carried away by convection as rapidly as it is produced. An oily (vegetable oil) rag might heat spontaneously in a pile or in the bottom of a trash container but would present no problem if hung on a clothesline. Additional or external heat can initiate spontaneous heating in some combustible materials not subject to this phenomenon at ordinary room temperatures. In these instances, preheating increases the rate of oxidation sufficiently so that more heat is produced than can be lost. Many fires have been caused by the spontaneous heating of foam rubber products after initial heating in a clothes dryer. Elevated moisture content or improper curing of agricultural products has a definite influence on the spontaneous heating by bacteria. C. Incendiary fire causes As set forth in the CFIRS manual, an incendiary fire/act is defined as a fire which is willfully and maliciously set (arson fire); unlawful fires (recklessly set); possession of flammable or explosive materials, and attempted arson. 1. Indicators of an incendiary fire (observations or circumstances depicting the possibility that the f ire was intentionally set): Multiple fires Trailers Presence of flammable accelerants Absence of all accidental fire causes (negative corpus) . Use of common equipment and/or appliances as a source of ignition. Structural damage prior to the fire. Contents out of place or contents not assembled. Major appliances removed prior to the fire.

107

Absence of personal items. Location of the fire. Evidence of other crimes in the structure. Unnatural fire spread, excessive fire damage, or evidence of extreme heat. Entry of fire companies blocked. Windows or view into structure blocked. Short period of time between exit of occupant or suspect and discovery of fire. Second fire in same structure. Evidence of burned or unburned newspapers near point of origin. Time of day Fires during renovation Reported activities of owners/occupant. 2. Accelerants Definition -materials, usually a flammable liquid, that are used to increase the spread of fire. Flammable liquids (flash points below 100 degrees F.) Gasoline Readily accessible and most commonly used Kerosene Alcohol Water soluble Difficult to detect Dissipates quickly Lighter/charcoal lighter fluids

108

The presence of a flammable liquid at a fire scene does not conclusively indicate incendiarism. Examples of accelerants normally found in home or businesses: Paint remover Polish remover Cleaning fluid Alcohol Printing fluids Gasoline Solvents Examples of locations where common accelerants might be found: Cabinets Utility room Workshop Medicine cabinet Garage Search for residue or flammable accelerants in locations or places where such liquids would not normally be stored. Examples: On or in furniture Inside drawers, cabinets, boxes and files Over unusual areas or over wide floor areas Indicators of the probable presence of flammable accelerants: Charring of large areas of floor Puddle-shaped floor char V" -shaped grooves burned between floor boards or elongated holes burned through flooring in line with grooves between boards.

109

Suggested locations to be searched for accelerantresidue: Flammable accelerants may have soaked through flooring and burned beneath floor or on ground under the structure. Open floor and check for accelerant residue between floor and sub-floor. Lowest level of any floor is likely to collect most of the accelerants in that area. Low or worn areas such as high traffic areas, area around furniture, and/or areas where heavy items rest. Sweep and rinse floor, then slowly pour water onto floor. Water will settle in same areas where accelerants were puddled. Flammable accelerants may soak into any absorbent material on or near the floor: Carpet (leaves very distinct burn pattern). Residue may remain in carpet and pad. Check floor drapes for accelerant residue. Unusual burning of contents and/or building components may indicate the use of an accelerant: Burning (char) on bottom edges of doors is unusual in most accidental fires. The charring of the undersides of furniture may indicate flammable accelerants. Burning of floor surfaces along edge at contact with walls may be due to accelerants being present. Corners and wall-to-floor edges are usually dead air spaces which suffer little, if any, fire damage unless flammable liquids are present. Flammable liquids may carry fire behind baseboard molding. Moldings should be removed and examined.

110

Char patterns may indicate use of accelerants: "Alligator char" (large pattern char) usually indicates a fast hot fire. This indicator should only be used when compared to the time and stage of the fire and the material involved. Burning in a downward direction is usually considered to be unnatural. Flammable accelerants may have run and carried flames downward. Exception: polyfoam or other synthetic material may melt and run while burning. Residue of flammable liquids may be detectable by use of a flammable vapor detector. Flammable liquid odors may be detected during fire extinguishment. Flashback of fire during extinguishment may indicate presence of accelerants. Discovery of flammable liquid containers may provide comparison sample for laboratory analysis. The flammable liquid container may provide fingerprints. 3. Incendiary Devices Definition- a device which would assist an individual in the setting and possible spreading of a fire. May also offer a time delay factor. a. Firebomb (also known as Molotov. Refer to Sections 453 (b) and 12303.3 Calif. Penal Code) (1) Components A breakable container, containing a flammable liquid with a flash point of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less, having a wick or similar device capable of being ignited.

111

(2)

Alternative mixtures Gasoline and oil mix Flammable liquid and soap flakes constitute a "napalm" mixture which adheres to the target.

b.

Cigarette/Matchbook device An ignited cigarette placed in the cover of a paper matchbook acting as a -time delay device.

c.

Candles and combustibles Materials are readily available and components are easily prepared and may also act as a delay device.

d.

Fireworks Fireworks can be used as the basis for an incendiary device when used in conjunction with accelerants or ordinary combustibles.

4.

Negative Corpus Definition - the methodical elimination of all accidental (natural, mechanical, and electrical) causes. Absence of all accidental f ire causes. Requires very detailed notes and reports. May be difficult to prove to the satisfaction of court or jury.

5.

Trailers Definition - any combustible or flammable material used to spread the fire from one point or area to another. Trailers usually leave char or burn patterns on surfaces where used. Floors Steps Aisleways Through doors, windows, or wall openings.

112

V.

CONDUCTING THE INVESTIGATION A. Conducting the Investigation When compiling information relating to a fire scene investigation, the observations of the first arriving Fire Department units can be a valuable source of information. These observations, early in the fire extinguishment process, can assist the fire scene investigator in knowing what had transpired prior to their arrival. The following information should be obtained from those members who had early access to the fire and knowledge of the circumstances surrounding aspects of its early stages. 1. Receipt of alarm The day of the week and time of alarm will often be the first indication of possible motive in an incendiary fire. outside fires between 1500 hrs. and 1800 hrs. during weekdays are frequently the result of juvenile activity after school. Late night/early morning fires in businesses on weekends are frequently the result of fraud fires. 2. Observations enroute to the fire: a. Weather conditions. Is it hot, cold, cloudy or clear? Are conditions in the involved structure appropriate for the weather? If it's cold outside, you would expect to find the windows closed. If it's hot, the furnace should be found off. b. Natural hazards. Had there been lightning, flooding, fog or an earthquake? Arsonists often wait for natural conditions which will delay the fire department's arrival at the scene.

113

c.

Wind direction and velocity. Knowledge of these factors will aid in determining the natural path of fire spread.

d.

Man made barriers. Are there barricades, downed trees, cables or trash containers obstructing the fire departments arrival? These could be early indications of a suspicious fire.

3.

Arrival at the scene: a. Compare what is found at the scene with the information given to you by the Incident Commander. In an industrial building, if the fire has developed greatly in intensity between the time of the alarm and the arrival of the fire department, it could indicate the presence of an accelerant. Were any cars seen speeding from the scene? If so, try to obtain a description/license number. Dress and appearance of persons leaving the scene. Were windows and doors covered? Drawing the shades or covering the windows and doors with blankets are techniques employed by arsonists to delay discovery of the fire. What was the Fire Department's means of entry? Were the doors locked/unlocked, closed or open? Was there evidence of forcible entry? Observe the color of smoke/flame. This is often the firefighter's first observation to the type of combustibles involved in the fire. Firefighters should be interviewed as soon as possible. Flame color can provide another clue for the fire scene investigator to determine what is burning and the intensity of the fire.

b.

c. d.

e.

f.

4.

While fighting the fire, be aware of: a. b. Separate and seemingly unconnected fires. The presence of usual odors. Some odors are likely to be familiar to firefighters. These include food, wood, grass, gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, lacquers and turpentine.

114

c. d.

The presence of unusual odors. Reaction of fire to water. A straight stream of water applied where flammable liquids were used may cause the liquid to float to the top, reignite, and continue to burn and spread the fire. The presence of an accelerant may also be suggested by flashback and/or several rekindles in the same area or by an increase in burning after water is applied.

e.

Obstacles to hinder fire fighting. Was furniture moved in the premises in such a manner as to make movement difficult during firefighting? Artificial conditions created to assist fire spread. Arsonists often prop open fire doors, pull down plaster to expose wood, or punch holes in ceilings from floor-to-floor, or walls from room-to-room in order to increase the rate of fire spread. Absence of furnishings, clothing or personal effects. Absence of family pets (birds, cats, dogs) in dwelling fires. Absence of stock, fixtures, machinery, display cases, records or raw materials in industrial or commercial properties. Uneven burning or localized heavy charring. Char on the underside of doors, base boards, or on the underside of any low horizontal surface may indicate there was a flammable liquid pool. Fingers of char in the cracks of wood flooring can also indicate the presence of a flammable liquid. Intensity of heat generated by fire. A very intense heat may indicate an accelerant was applied to increase the fire spread. Speed of fire spread. Taking into consideration the building's structure and occupancy, did the fire spread unusually fast? An unusually rapid fire spread could indicate the use of an accelerant.

f.

g.

h.

i.

j.

k.

115

l.

Tampering or damage to fire prevention facilities. Was the sprinkler system in operating condition? Were the sprinkler valves open before the fire? Was the fire alarm system in working order? Tampering or damage to burglar alarm. Was the burglar alarm set and did it activate? What was the normal routine for setting the alarm?

m. n.

5.

After extinguishment: a. For the safety of firefighters and to preclude re-ignition of the fire, a cursory examination by the fire scene investigator for origin and cause should begin immediately while the firefighters take a break and pick up unnecessary hose lines and equipment. Check to see that members did not destroy any incendiary devices or other evidence during extinguishment. Note attitude and dress of owner/occupants. One would expect to find the owner or occupants of a building distressed at an unexpected fire. occupants should also be found in attire appropriate to the time of day. If the fire occurs at 0400 hours, it would be noticeably suspicious to find the occupants fully dressed. Note individuals who attend several fires. Some arsonists are emotionally disturbed individuals who receive personal satisfaction in seeing a "successful" fire. Individuals who attend several fires, especially in various locales, are suspicious. Note any persons at the scene acting abnormally. Most persons at a fire scene are intent on watching the fires extinguishment. Persons at the scene constantly talking, laughing, or in any way making light of the situation, should be considered suspicious. Record name, address, telephone number, and date of birth of owner(s), occupant(s), and witnesses.

b.

c.

d.

e.

6.

Follow these steps to determine the area of origin: a. When you conduct your investigation, start with the exterior and proceed to the interior, from the least damaged areas to the most or heaviest damaged area.

116

b.

Determine whether the fire originated at the building's exterior or interior. Look for burned or smoked areas on the roof, doors and windows. Check for any openings that may have caused drafts to influence the fire spread. If natural-gas might be involved, examine the outside gas valve to see if it was on or off before the fire. Examine the interior completely to locate the area/room of most severe damage and any other evidence that may have a bearing on cause or spread of the fire. Check the floor, walls, and ceiling to find the worst area of damage. Often the point of origin can be found directly beneath the worst area of damage on the ceiling. Find the lowest point of burning within the area of origin. It may be helpful to look under furnishings and shelves for severe charring. Examining the depth of char on wood can help to determine both the length of burning and the point of origin. Look for the direction of heat flow. After locating the area of lowest and deepest charring, look for other heat indicators. Light bulbs may swell and lose their shape at 9000 F. when exposed to heat for 10 minutes or more. The side of the bulb exposed to the fire initially may melt and come to a point. Examine the colors on chromium and other shiny metals subjected to the fire (check surfaces of ovens, toasters, irons and other appliances). The progress of the fire can be traced by comparing the color of various shiny metals at different locations within the area of origin. Window glass in the immediate vicinity of the fire's origin will exhibit only traces of smoke while glass farther away from the fire's point of origin will reveal heavier concentrations of smoke.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

i.

117

j.

Look for evidence of multiple fires. Are the sources of ignition independent of one another? When a room reaches approximately 1,000 F. a flashover may occur making the entire room appear to burst into flames at once. Upon investigation, flashovers of highly combustible materials may lead the fire scene investigator to suspect there were two or more separate fires. As areas are examined and determined to contain no evidence pertaining to cause & origin and the area is deemed safe for firefighters, limited overhaul operations may be initiated. Exception: fire scenes involving homicides, fire fatalities or other related crimes. Keep in mind, burning flammable liquids and combustible materials may cause heavy charring at locations distant from the source of ignition and might not necessarily indicate the point of origin. Look for a definite fire pattern. A normal pattern is upward and outward in a "V" shape.

k.

l.

m.

7.

Indicators of slow or fast-burning fires: a. Overhead damage. Uniform overhead damage usually indicates a slow, smoldering fire. Extensive damage in one place on the ceiling indicates an intense, rapid buildup beginning below this spot. Fire pattern. A wide angle "V" pattern usually indicates a slow burning fire. Crazing of glass. Large cracks and heavy smoke usually indicate slow burning while irregularly shaped cracks and slight smoke film usually indicate rapid burning. Alligatoring. A fast, intense fire will cause heavy alligatoring and shiny, smooth blisters on exposed wood surfaces. A long developing, low heat source will produce flat alligatoring.

b.

c.

d.

118

e.

Line of demarcation. Examine a cross-section of a piece of wood found near the point of origin. A distinct line between charred and un-charred portions of the wood indicates a fast, intense fire. A graduation in charring and an overall baked appearance usually indicates a long, slow fire. Spalling. Surface pieces of concrete, cement or brick may break off when exposed to an intense heat source or when subjected to a high level of heat and cooled rapidly.

f.

8.

Determine the cause of the fire: It may be easiest and most effective to locate the cause of the fire if furnishings remain in their original positions within the area of origin. Remember, a fire needs both a fuel supply and a heat source. Fuels include flammable liquids, combustible solids and combustible gases. Heat sources may include open flames, hot surfaces, electricity, friction and reaction (spontaneous ignition). a. Is there equipment in the area of origin that could have emitted a spark, overheated or backfired? Be aware of low temperature or non-flaming heat sources like light bulbs, electric blankets, electric irons or steam pipes, which, over a period of time, can ignite combustible materials they come into contact with. If electric motors are found in the area of origin check the interior of the motor windings to see if the damage was deep seated. Motor burnout may also be indicated if, after extinguishment, the motor housing is too hot to touch but iron or steel of similar size in the same area is relatively cool. If the motor was running during the fire, there may be bits of solder in the interior of the motor housing. Friction as a fire cause will be indicated if the point of damage to the motor belts is worse where it passes over the pulleys (in fires from outside sources, belts are mostly damaged between pulleys).

119

In electrical appliances having a thermal control, sticking or fusing of the contact points may cause overheating of the device. Electric clocks found in the debris can be extremely helpful. They may aid in determining the burning time, progress of fire, and involvement of other electrical. equipment in the area. b. Was there any possible source of an electrical short circuit? First check the fuse panel for tampering. Is it overloaded with improper fuses? A short circuit or dead short will usually burn the face of a glass fuse while overloads or high resistance shorting will only melt the fuse band without burning the face of the plug. It is difficult to tell whether a short circuit caused the fire or was a result of the fire. Continued overload of a circuit will result in decomposition and carbonization of insulation on both sides of where the short occurred. Shorts caused during the heat of the fire, however, may show beading but decomposition and carbonization of insulation will be found only on the side exposed to the fire. c. Were smoking materials involved? Cigarettes require good insulation in order to cause flaming combustion with an average incubation or smoldering time of about 1-1/2 hours. Fires caused by cigarettes in furniture will be slow and smoldering, leaving heavy charring on the insides of the furniture and on the floor in the immediate area. Long periods of smoldering will cause the coil springs in the furniture to collapse (1400 F.) and may become brittle due to rapid cooling during extinguishment. Were there any signs of an explosion? Gas leaks can cause explosions, so check appliances and gas furnace valves to see if they were open or closed. Look for loosened pipe fittings and piping sawed or cut in half. Take note of any gas appliances found in unusual locations. Was spontaneous combustion a possible fire cause? Since it takes a considerable mass of combustible materials to produce spontaneous heating, some remains from the internal charring may be found at the point of origin.

d.

e.

120

Location is an important factor in considering the possibility of spontaneous ignition, the materials necessary are rarely found in large quantities in living rooms or bathrooms. It usually requires a great deal of time to produce the amount of heat necessary to cause spontaneous ignition. Substances Active in Spontaneous Combustion. Substance Aluminum Animal matter Bronze Magnesium Miscellaneous Steel Vegetable matter Vegetable oils Zinc f. Form Shavings, filings, powder Hides, skins, manure Shavings, filings Shavings, filings Sawdust, coal, flour Shavings, filings Hay, grain All Shavings, filings

Combustible solids like wood, paper and rags can be found in most buildings, but were they in a normal location? Check the layers of debris one by one to determine the sequence in which things burned. Were there any newspapers found in an unusual place? If so, are the newspapers of different types or dates? Checking the condition of burned wood can help to determine the length of time of flaming combustion. Douglas fir and similar soft woods have a char rate of approximately 1" in 45 minutes when exposed to fire temperatures of 1500 - 1900 degrees F. Look for specific evidence of incendiary origin.

g.

h.

i.

121

j.

Trailers between fires made of paper, string or cord soaked in oil, rope soaked in kerosene, dynamite fuses, black gunpowder, cotton batting and kapok, streamers, excelsior, or any combination of these. Candles used to ignite trailers. Was there residue of candle wax or paraffin near the point of origin? Matches tied around combustible fibers or attached to mechanical devices. Accelerant containers and evidence of flammable or combustible liquids including gasoline, kerosene, solvents, alcohol, acetone, paint thinner and ether. Since flammable liquids flow to the lowest level, more severe burning found on the floor than on the ceiling may indicate the use of an accelerant as floor temperatures are usually lower than ceiling temperatures. If an accelerant has been used, charring may be as great or greater on the bottom of furniture, shelves, doors, etc. compared to the topsides of these items. If flammable liquids have soaked into wooden flooring, there may be heavy burning at the joints and ink blob outlines may be found after extinguishment. Since most floors are not completely level, look for heavy charring in corners. Accelerant residue may be found in the soil under buildings with a raised foundation if an accelerant has been used. Rags, clothing or curtains soaked in oil. Rubbish and paper. Timing devices including clock radios, timers and telephones. Electrical equipment and/or appliances may be used to initiate a fire or may be placed at the area of origin to make it appear as a source of ignition or cause of the fire. Was it plugged into an outlet?

k.

l.

m.

n.

o. p. q. r.

122

VI.

EVIDENCE A. Types of Evidence Evidence has been defined as all the means by which any alleged matter of facts are proved or disproved. It includes objects, testimony or statements, records or documents, and anything else that can be legally presented at a trial. Evidence can normally be divided into two major categories; direct and circumstantial. Evidence can be briefly defined as "The facts that tend to prove something." When called to the scene of a fire, the Incident Commander's first responsibility after suppression is to determine the cause and origin of the fire. If they determine the fire was intentionally set, their concern shifts to the discovery of evidential material that will support their contention and prove the elements of the crime of arson in a court of law. Evidence can take many forms and it is up to the Incident Commander to search out all areas of the scene to determine what is evidence and what is not. 1. Direct Evidence Direct evidence is any evidence that directly proves a fact, without an inference or presumption on the part of anyone. Direct evidence would include physical evidence, eyewitness statements, and confessions. A good illustration of direct evidence would be where a witness sees an individual light a grass fire with a fusee. Both the statement of the eyewitness and the remains of the fusee would be direct evidence. a. Physical evidence This evidence has a physical substance or existence and can be perceived by any of the five senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling). It may be a burn pattern, ignition device, trailer, container of accelerant, remains of a fire bomb, or a faulty appliance or electrical component.

123

b.

Eyewitness statements This type of direct evidence would be testimony of a witness's personal experience of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, or feeling directly related to the facts being presented. This could include a witness seeing an individual set a fire, a witness hearing a threat being made, or a witness smelling gasoline in a room prior to a fire.

c.

Confessions A confession consists of those statements, made by a suspect either spontaneously or after their waiving of the Miranda admonition, implicating the suspect in the crime. The corpus delicti (crime of arson) must be established independently of the confession.

2.

Circumstantial Evidence Circumstantial evidence is evidence of an indirect nature. Circumstantial evidence is the proof of facts based on inference. Certain facts are proven and from these facts the court or jury may infer other facts which would normally follow based on common sense and experience. Where the crime of arson is established by direct evidence, the connection of an individual to the crime may be proven by circumstantial evidence and any reasonable inferences. An example of circumstantial evidence would be where a business suffers an incendiary fire. The investigation reveals that business was bad and the owner increased the insurance the day prior to the fire. The poor business and the insurance increase would be circumstantial evidence and along with other direct evidence could implicate the owner in the crime.

3.

Evidence Handling After suppression and during the initial phases of cause determination, look for evidence indicating the cause of the fire or contributing factors which may have influenced the spread of the fire. Don't overlook the obvious such as items absent from or foreign to the immediate fire scene.

124

Handle all evidence with-care: a. When possible, photograph the fire scene, emphasizing the point of origin and any incendiary devices on the premises, making sure to photograph devices exactly where they are found. Leave all evidence intact if at all possible. Barricades may be helpful in blocking off the area to further foot traffic. Areas surrounding devices should be roped off and a guard should be posted to protect the evidence. If in doubt of how to handle or preserve the evidence, contact the appropriate arson unit for instructions. If an arson unit is requested, protect the evidence by preserving the fire scene from overhaul and water additives. If the evidence is out of the immediate area of the scene, place a firefighter to guard the evidence. Do not remove it or touch it if possible. If no arson unit is requested, photograph evidence before moving it. Clean unused paint cans with lids that automatically seal when closed are the best containers for retaining evidence. Plastic containers and plastic bags should be avoided as any evidence of petroleum products may deteriorate the plastic. Paper bags can be used for dry clothing or metal articles, matches or papers. Either a cellulose sponge or cotton batting can be used to soak up small quantities of liquids. All evidence should be marked in some way. Marking should include the date, time, location, officer's name and assignment. Fire scene investigators should keep a record of each person who handles the evidence. Preserve the chain of custody in handling evidence. If the chain of custody is not preserved, the court may rule the evidence inadmissible.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

125

i.

Once evidence is found, preserve it, photograph it and make a note of where, when, and how it was found. Protect the evidence from contamination, alteration, damage, or destruction. Upon returning to quarters, notify the arson section by telephone. Be sure to include all information under the F-902 comment section (arson screen). Additionally, all information relating to the incident and the evidence should be journalized. Store the evidence in the station in a safe and secure location. Keep it in a place where "curious" firefighters won't handle it. Do not store evidence in an area accessible to the public. Request arson to pick up the evidence as soon as possible. If the evidence is not collected in a reasonable time, notify the arson section again to determine when the evidence will be picked up.

j.

4.

Chain of Evidence The term "Chain of Evidence" refers to the chain of custody (possession) of an item of evidence from the point in time when it was first discovered until the time it is offered as an exhibit in court. Any break in the chain of evidence could preclude its use as evidence in future court proceedings. Evidence can take many forms and it is up to the fire scene investigator to search out all areas of the scene to determine what is evidence and what is not. It takes evidence, both direct and circumstantial to successfully prosecute and convict individuals responsible for the crime of arson. Be aware of everything in the area when conducting the scene investigation for the cause and origin. Following these procedures should ensure that when the evidence arrives for its "day in court", no problems will be encountered.

126

VII.

MOTIVES A. Motive Types Various types of fires can be more readily identified if the fire scene investigator at the scene is aware of a possible motive for that fire. Being able to identify a motive can assist in developing a suspect for the fire. 1. Spite/Revenge At this point in time, "Spite" is the most predominant motive that you may encounter. It is most commonly found in domestic disputes. Fire is frequently the weapon of someone who wants to be removed from the physical act of violence. A fire of this type is often the most deadly and can result in extensive loss of life. a. These fires often occur in the bedroom and can be the result of a problem in a personal relationship. They usually occur during the hours of darkness. They may involve the use of available combustibles, but are often set using flammable liquids as an accelerant. Articles of clothing may be gathered in a pile to be burned. A vindictive person may target a personal vehicle for an act of vandalism. Statements made concerning neighborhood disputes can be a valuable tool in establishing spite as a motive for your fire. Spite fires may also result from an emotional conflict such as in work relationships, labor disputes, racial confrontations or religious antagonisms (hate crimes).

b. c.

d. e.

f.

g.

127

2.

Juveniles "Juveniles" is not a motive, however, since this group is often involved in many different types of fire-setting, it is listed here as a separate motive group. a. Children have a natural curiosity about fire, usually occurring in both sexes between the ages of 4 and 12. INTENT is 'the primary consideration. If the child's intent was NOT to set fire and/or if the act was intended as playing or experimenting with fire, this incident should not be classified as incendiary. Juvenile fires often occur in secret or hidden places such as closets, under beds, basements and attics. Juveniles occasionally set "nuisance" fires in trash and grass, the severity depending on extension and intent.

b.

c.

d.

3.

Pyro/Psycho "Pyromania" is defined as the uncontrollable impulse to start fires. This may or may not be connected to sexual gratification or desires. The following is a list of traits, some or all of which a pyromaniac may possess. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. A loner, a loser. Unable to do anything about being a loser or a pyromaniac. Suffering a setback of some kind. May use alcohol/drugs to boost courage. May be extremely deceptive. Seldom carries an accelerant. May set more than one fire at a given time. May set fires in structures or outside. Finds some kind of relief by setting fires.

128

j. k. l. 4.

The fires usually occur in buildings other than their own. The "pyro" fires usually set some type of activity pattern. May or may not stay in the incident area after setting the fire(s).

Crime Cover There are many reasons why fire may be used by a criminal. In all circumstances where a fire may have been set to cover a crime, efforts must be made to protect the scene. a. A fire can destroy books/records in an effort to cover shortages of stock, materials, cash, or other items. A fire can destroy evidence of other crimes such as signs of forcible entry, fingerprints, rifled drawers, or other physical evidence. A fire may be set to cause a distraction so that criminal activity can occur in other areas of a neighborhood. A fire may cover evidence of a homicide or a suicide. Another crime, such as burglary, can be staged by the owner to explain a fire that has been intentionally set.

b.

c.

d. e.

5.

Fraud By definition, a "fraud" is a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain. There are several types of fraud fires which are usually encountered: a. Direct gain fraud fires are frequently associated with: (1) (2) (3) Collection of insurance money. Interruption of mortgage payments. Inability to dispose of unwanted property when taxes are due.

129

(4)

A structure that is "condemned". It's cheaper to burn than tear down. Property is being divided in court. Estate settlement money is easier to divide. Periods of business recession (seasonal businesses suffer more incendiary fires than do year 'round businesses). Merchandise/equipment becomes obsolete or out of style. Insurance money is of greater value than rent money. Owner's desire to redecorate/remodel. Dissolution of a business partnership.

(5)

(6)

(7) (8) (9) (10) b.

Indirect gain fraud fires may or may not involve profit from insurance money. (1) (2) Tenant sets a fire to break a lease. Landlord sets a fire to force tenants out. New leases bring increased rent. Owner sets fire to competitor to reduce competition.

(3) c.

Organized criminal activity may include insurance fraud, elimination of competition, and fires set for purposes of intimidation.

6.

Vanity a. "Profit Vanity" fires may be a form of indirect fraud. Example: a security guard or watchman may set one or more fires to secure a raise in pay. Another example would be that of an "on-call" firefighter who seeks to secure their job position by setting and then extinguishing fires. "Hero Vanity" fires are incidents which many believe to be closely associated to some forms of pyromania. This would include a fire set by an individual who wants attention for finding and extinguishing the fires.

b.

130

7.

Civil Disorders, Revolutions and/or Political Activity In these cases, fire is often used as a weapon. it produces destruction of property and creates the illusion a large group of people are involved in firesetting in a specific area.

131

VIII.

REPORTS AND RECORDS A. Introduction In the City of Los Angeles the primary responsibility for determining fire cause rests with the Incident Commander. All fires are investigated. Investigations are initiated to determine the cause of a fire The cause of a fire must be accurately determined before any preventative or corrective action may be taken. If the cause is other than incendiary, preventive action may include better code enforcement, code modification or revision, product deficiency recognition and public safety education. Should the cause of a fire be determined as incendiary, a separate course of action would call for criminal prosecution or other legal recourse. Frequently, fire cause determination by the field is preliminary to a more detailed examination by Arson Section Investigators. Without proper training, the first line fire scene investigator cannot make the decisions necessary to establish the proper fire cause. The primary purpose of cause investigation is to determine how and why the fire started; and for criminal fires, to establish the "Corpus Delicti (body of the crime or the fact a crime has occurred). There is a natural tendency for everyone to be overwhelmed with the magnitude and violence of the fire itself and the degree of destruction. Cause, not extent, should be the fire scene investigator's concern. Too much attention to the extent tends to obscure the search for the cause. Because of these mental preoccupations there is a need to develop a comprehensive analytical approach to fire investigation. Members responsible for cause and origin determination must have a true comprehension of how fire burns and that most fires do not behave in the same predictable manner. Fire conditions must be considered with fuels, physical circumstance and the environment when establishing the cause. There is also a tendency for some fire scene investigators to have a preference towards certain fire causes. These persons have the belief that most fires have a single cause. For example, electrical or smoking materials. Due to this bias, they spend much of their time trying to prove the preferred cause rather than determining the true cause.

132

In residential occupancies, indirect losses are those costs other than structure or content losses. These losses include locating temporary shelter, medical care, emotional care, childcare, legal fees, transportation, days away from work, extra clothing and food costs. There are also losses of irreplaceable items such as, pictures, records, antiques and other heirlooms. Indirect losses to a business include; income loss due to disruption of business flow, locating and moving to a suitable location processing and shipping losses, loss of business records, costs of retaining and maintaining trained employees, loss of customers, equipment replacement costs, legal costs and obtaining new credit which may be difficult and more expensive. When both residential and business suffer indirect fire losses, the whole community is affected. There are burdens and losses from employees payroll, welfare, unemployment, loss of taxes and revenue, and other financial losses, depending on the magnitude of the fire. In measuring and estimating the loss for the Field Incident Reports, we are only concerned with direct losses. In order to properly estimate fire loss you must classify the type of property usage, type of construction, fire protection devices installed, and amount and type of contents damaged inside or adjacent to the occupancy. With all of the above information you can then estimate the fire loss with reasonable accuracy. The following occupancies have been broken down into those incurring fire damage on a frequent basis. The building costs are for rebuilding on a square-foot basis and the averages are to be used from the information you have gathered. Estimating content damage again applies to amount, age, type and information gathered. Electrical components, machinery and other expensive items require good judgement. When estimating fire loss, take into consideration all materials damaged by fire as well as those items damaged by smoke and water. Estimate replacements of a like kind and quality rounding off to the nearest whole dollar.

134

The average cost of contents per square foot is equal to the same amount it costs to rebuild per square foot. The following guidelines were developed to assist fire Investigators in estimating fire loss: Average cost for rebuilding per square foot per occupancy: Severe Damage Apartments Bank Churches Convalescent hospitals Homes for the elderly High-rise Hospitals Hotel Large commercial complexes Manufacturing commercial Medical offices Mobile home, double wide Mobile home, single wide Office Restaurants Residential Custom homes Tract housing Garage burned-out Attic and roof destroyed, walls structurally sound Retail store Schools Service station Sheds Steel building Supermarkets Theaters and auditoriums Tilt-up construction, panelized roof destroyed, walls structurally sound Warehouses and most ordinary commercial, attic and roof destroyed, walls structurally sound 50.00 107.00 70.00 86.00 70.00 65.00 100.00 69.00 50.00 50.00 86.00 35.00 33.00 50.00 80.00 70.00 40.00 25.00 20.00 54.00 80.00 80.00 12.00 15.00 55.00 107.00 to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to to 65.00 143.00 75.00 112.00 87.00 100.00 200.00 84.00 65.00 65.00 114.00 41.00 36.00 65.00 100.00 80.00 50.00 35.00 25.00 72.00 100.00 100.00 18.00 20.00 65.00 135.00

15.00

to

20.00

25.00

to

35.00

135

Moderate Damage Minor wall and floor repair, cleanup and painting Light Damage Little damage beyond scorching and smoke damage, primarily a cleanup and paint job Contents Common sense and statements of occupants/owners. Observations of Fire Department personnel. Large warehouses containing clothing, electronics, etc. use good judgment. EXAMPLE A structure fire occurs involving a wood framed, single family dwelling, one story with a composition roof. The fire has gutted one room, approximate size is 10' x15'. There is no extension into the attic. Personal property in the house includes; one sofa, two reclining chairs, two table lamps, two end tables a RCA 1911 television, nylon shag carpet and a coffee table. Moderate water damage is incurred to the hallway carpet, smoke damage to curtains and paint, approximately 1000 square feet. STRUCTURE LOSS 10' x15'/150 sq.feet/$40 = MODERATE CLEAN-UP REPAIR/1000 sq. feet/$10 CONTENT LOSS 1 Sofa 2 Reclining chairs 2 Table lamps 2 End tables RCA 1911 Television Nylon shag carpet Coffee table TOTAL FIRE LOSS $ 6000 10000

10.00

to

15.00

5.00

to

10.00

400 300 100 225 250 350 150 $17,775

136

One of the primary groups conducting loss analysis is the insurance industry. The insurance industry is specifically concerned with arson for profit fires. However, the information obtained from fire investigations is used for: Recognizing and describing a community fire problem. Supporting budget requests and allocations for additional resources through good data analysis. Improving fire prevention end fire suppression needs. Implementing and evaluating community awareness and education programs. Revising, improving and evaluating fire code requirements. Combating the growing arson problems. By using the information, guidelines and averages provided in this section, you can estimate fire losses as correctly and accurately as possible. D. Fire Report Requests 1. The F-902 (Field Incident Report) is a public document and is available to the general public approximately five working days after the incident. Persons requesting may obtain a copy of the report by coming in person to the Arson Investigation Section office or by making a written request. A written request should include the address, date/time of incident and must include a check or money order for the fee of $5.50 payable to the City of Los Angeles. To expedite the request, a self-addressed, stamped envelope should be included and mailed to the Arson Section Office. 3. The F-260 (Fire Investigation Report) is exempt from public disclosure when it involves a criminal fire under the provisions of California Government Code Section 6254 (f) . This Section does direct disclosure to victims, the following information: Names/addresses of persons involved in the incident. Names/addresses of witnesses to the incident other than confidential informants.

2.

137

Date, time and location of incident. Statements of the parties involved (victims or witnesses) other than confidential informants. All diagrams. Arson reports will only be released to a qualified/affected party or to another law enforcement/government agency with a need to know. Release of an active arson investigation can only be authorized by the case Investigator, Senior Investigator, Section Captains or the Section Commander. 4. Release of miscellaneous information to the public. Property owners or other involved with a fire incident may be given information that is readily available, as follows: Cause of fire, dollar loss and Investigators name (if assigned). Procedures on how to obtain a fire incident report, or other documents. Statistical and other general information available with little or no work effort. 5. Release of information to news media Avoid releasing information to the news media whether at the scene of a fire incident or over the telephone Refer the media representative to either the Incident Commander, the Public Information Officer (extension 5-6054) or the Community Liaison Officer (extension 5-5954). E. Subpoena Service 1. As previously stated, the Arson Investigation Section also functions as the Custodian of Records and as such, accepts subpoenas and summons for members of the Fire Department. The criteria for acceptance of subpoenas is as follows:

138

a.

Criminal (1) All criminal subpoenas are accepted at the Arson Investigation Section counter for members of the Fire Department. There is no fee required for criminal cases. Normally, a five-day advance notice is required for the members to appear. If there is not sufficient time, subpoenas are accepted with a waiver that there is no guarantee of the member's appearance.

(2)

b.

civil

(1)

Civil subpoenas are also accepted at the Arson Investigation Section counter. Fees must be paid at the time of service. A payment of $150 is required for sworn personnel. Subpoenas presented with less than five days notice, will not be accepted.

(2)

c.

Fire Department Records (1) Subpoenas for Fire Suppression records/reports are accepted at the Arson Investigation Section. Fire Prevention records can also be subpoenaed from the Arson Investigation Section. Requests for OCD dispatch tapes and member interviews can be made through the Arson Investigation Section.

(2)

(3)

d.

Summons Acceptance Summons for all Fire Department members can be accepted at the Arson Investigation Section, for incidents having occurred on duty. They may also be served personally to the member at their assignment. After proper notifications are made, the Arson Investigation Section prepares a letter requesting representation from the City Attorney's office to be signed by the Chief Engineer.

139

F.

902 Operation 1. As previously noted, the 902 system serves as an automated code-a-phone system when certain criteria are met. To generate an "arson screen" in the 902 system, the following factors must be included in the report: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Incendiary cause for the fire. Suspicious cause for the fire. Estimated dollar loss in excess of $24,999. Juveniles playing with matches. Explosion/attempt arson incidents. Fatalities or serious injuries. Fire Prevention Bureau occupancy.

The information received from the field will be used as criteria for determining the follow-up investigation, if any, needed to complete the case. Fire Department statistics will also be taken from this information relative to budget, staffing and other functions. 2. Automated Code-a-Phone Procedures These procedures should be used for all stations utilizing their data entry terminal. a. Fire incidents: For fire incidents, complete the routine 902 screens on your terminal. If data entered indicates certain arson criteria, an Arson Data Screen will automatically be displayed. Complete the screen as follows: Visually check the property and content loss boxes and, if correct, enter a "Yes" in Total Checked box. If totals are not correct, do not complete this screen but return to the previous 902 screen and correct the dollar amounts. Upon striking the Enter key, the Arson Data Screen will be returned for completion.

140

This "Yes" entry is a double check indicating the correct amounts have been entered for Property and content loss for a single fire incident without exposures or that the amounts CURRENTLY DISPLAYED reflects the correct totals for the primary fire PLUS all exposures ENTERED UP TO THIS TIME. Totals are needed as the Arson Information System uses a single record for each fire incident regardless of the number of exposures. The computer automatically adds exposure loss to the total boxes as the exposures are entered into the 902 system, if the primary fire incident triggered the Arson Data Screen. Enter the reason for the Code-a-Phone. The automatic triggers (reason) for the Arson Data Screen will be shown at the bottom of the screen and the most appropriate one shown may be used for the Reason box. Comments are extremely important and are requested by the Arson Investigation Section. Comments are needed to explain what was found at the scene and anything that may be of interest to the Arson Investigation Section. The comments given are confidential to the Arson Section and may include information that is of a sensitive nature. Comments should include the following: Whether an A-Unit was notified, but did not respond to the scene. Name, address, phone number, and/or description, and the connection of witnesses, suspects, arrestees, or others involved in the incident. Name, sex ethnic origin, date of birth, address and phone number of parent (s) of any involved juveniles. Also give attitude of the juveniles and parents and the action taken, such as "counseled and released" or action recommended by the Incident Commander. Indicate if an A-Unit was on scene by placing an "X" in the A-Unit on scene box. The absence of an "X" will indicate the A-Unit was NOT on scene.

141

Enter the number, if any, of juveniles counseled and released in the Juvenile C and R box. NOTE: Report non-fire incidents (other than incendiary attempts) such as harassments or other matters of interest to the Arson Section by regular telephonic code-a-phone. b. Bomb, Firebomb or Incendiary Device: Description of device Location where device was found Who found the device. c. Attempt Incendiary Incidents: To code-a-phone an attempted incendiary fire using the station computer terminal, complete your normal 902 screen first with code "48" entered for Incident Type. Upon striking the Enter key, you will receive the Arson screen. On the Arson screen, enter "X" at A-Unit On Scene, if an A-Unit was on scene, the number of juveniles counseled, if any, "attempt" for Reason and a brief description of attempt. Include the type of property involved and material/ignition factor. d. Arson Information System Upon entry of the electronic code-a-phones, the combined data is sent to a transaction file. This F-902 data is held pending the printing out of the Arson Section daily Captain's Log. The Captain's Log is a combination of the previous day's incidents which were received via the station computer terminals. After the Captain's Log is printed, the Arson Section Fire Investigation Reports are also printed out. These reports and their comments (from the Arson Screen) become the basis for follow-up investigation by Arson Section Investigators. These reports are cross-referenced against the existing data base in the Arson Information System. This is done to ascertain if there has been any previous fire activity at the listed address or with any of the persons involved.

142

The cases to be investigated are then assigned from the comments that have been provided by the field. It is important that the names, addresses, dates of birth, descriptions, phone numbers, license numbers and any other information the Incident Commander feels is important, be included in the.. Comments section. The detection, apprehension and prosecution of persons who have violated any of the arson laws depends on good cause determination, preserving evidence, accurate and prompt reports, knowing when to request or telephonically contact and A-Unit, and obtaining complete information. G. Fire Incident Report Requests The Arson Investigation Section serves as the Custodian of Records for the Fire Department for purposes of handling public requests for Fire Department records and has the responsibility to make certain records available to the public. Among these records is the Field Incident Report. This document is generated through the 902 system for every incident a fire company responds to. The Officer in Charge of that company is responsible for completing the report in a timely manner and making it available for those persons involved in an incident. These reports can be issued to involved parties in the incident or their representatives upon payment of an established fee. The F-902 is routinely available five working days after the incident, assuming it has been entered into the computer. Requests for this document can be made either in person or by mail. Persons wishing to only view public records can do so during normal business hours unless these records are exempted from disclosure.

143

IX.

COURTROOM TESTIMONY A. Subpoenas The Subpoena process is the method by which the attendance of a witness before a court or magistrate is required. It may be issued by any of the following: A magistrate or their clerk; The district attorney or their Investigator; The public defender or their Investigator. 1. Criminal on-call subpoenas Once subpoenaed, it is the member's responsibility to contact the Witness Coordinator (telephone number will be on subpoena) and give them the telephone number where you can be contacted on the day of the trial or hearing. The date on the subpoena is usually the first day of the ten day period in which the trial should begin. Contact the Witness Coordinator each day and inform them of your availability for each day. They will let you know if you will be needed that day. If you anticipate not being available for a particular day, let the Witness Coordinator know at least 24 hours in advance. Contact the Subpoena Control Coordinator to confirm that you have received your subpoena by using voice mail at (213) 485-6341. Contact the Arson Investigation Section to determine which Investigator is handling the case. Contact the Investigator to discuss the case and how long you may be needed. Let the Investigator know at that time of any problems you anticipate regarding your appearance or in testifying. 2. Criminal in-court subpoenas Contact the Arson Investigation Section to determine which Investigator is handling the case. Contact the specific Investigator to discuss the case and what you will be testifying to. Set up a time to meet with the Investigator and Deputy District Attorney handling the case. This is usually done on the day of the hearing or trial and you will be able to review the records and reports prior to testifying. Let the Investigator know of any problems you anticipate in regards to being in court or testifying. Review the station journal entries prior to coming to court and any notes you may have made regarding the fire.

144

3.

Civil court/civil deposition subpoenas Civil subpoenas will normally be served by a process server representing the respective law firm. Due to the fact the majority of civil cases relate back to incidents happening a number of years prior, Members should familiarize themselves with the particulars of the case. Subpoenas for civil depositions will normally require that the member report to the address of the law firm indicated on the face of the subpoena to give testimony. Contact the Subpoena Control Officer to confirm receipt of your subpoena by voice mail at (213) 485-6341. Contact the Arson Investigation Section to determine which Investigator is handling the case. Determine from the Investigator what you will be testifying to so you can be prepared for court/ deposition. Review journal entries, when possible, and notes you may have made regarding the fire incident. Past journals may be requested through the Arson Investigation Section. Due to the large case loads of many civil courts, Members should check with the law firm issuing the subpoena to see if they can be placed "on call" or should attend at the time and date indicated on the subpoena.

B.

Preparing for court/deposition appearance When representing the City of Los Angeles, wear the dress uniform. Arrive on time and when possible, arrive early. When arriving in criminal court, check in with the court bailiff or court clerk. Contact the Deputy District Attorney handling the case, (bailiff will tell you who it is) and tell them you are present in Court. Review all reports, records, evidence, and diagrams and go over possible testimony with the Deputy District Attorney. Be familiar with dates, times, addresses, and other pertinent facts of the case. When arriving in civil court, check in with the attorney who issued the subpoena. When discussing facts of the case with a private attorney, only discuss facts. Do not venture any guesses or opinions unless you will be testifying as an expert witness. Remember anything you discuss can, and probably will, be brought out in open court.

145

A civil deposition is usually held in a law firm office. Prior to your appearance, contact the law firm by phone to confirm your receiving the subpoena. Let the receptionist know who you are and what you are there for. Depositions are usually more informal than a courtroom trial but most guidelines for rules of law will be followed. The most obvious exception is since there is no judge to' rule on objections made by either attorney, you must answer all questions, even after an objection has been raised. Don't bring anything to a deposition that hasn't been specifically subpoenaed or requested. Be wary of discussing anything with private attorneys "off the record". When the deposition is complete, leave the office without discussion with either attorney. C. Testifying Make a good impression. Look sharp! When called to the stand, walk purposefully and affirm the oath with a firm "I do". Look confident and credible, but not cocky. Maintain a good attitude. You are a neutral party in this case. Only state what you observed and when answering questions asked from either attorney, speak with the same demeanor and tone of voice. Present a fair and impartial attitude. Always testify in a clear, firm voice. Avoid using slang, professional jargon, or profanity (unless quoting what someone else has said). Be courteous to all in the courtroom. Address the judge as "your honor". Make every attempt to display fairness towards the defendant in criminal cases. Do not throw accusing glances or otherwise show prejudgment in manner or speech towards the defendant. Always refer to the defendant as the defendant. Do not use the defendants name unless it must be included in an answer. Always stay calm. It is a well known ploy for attorneys to try to anger you. You should give calm, respectful answers even though the attorney is trying to upset you. When an objection is raised by either attorney, remain silent until the objection is ruled on by the court (judge). "Objection sustained" means you cannot answer the question. You should say nothing until asked another question. "Objection overruled" means you may go ahead and answer the question asked prior to the objection if you understand the question. If you don't understand the question, state you do not understand the question. If the objection is argued for a lengthy period of time and you don't remember the question, ask that the question be repeated.

146

Most questions can be answered with a "yes" or "no". If a more detailed answer is necessary to explain a question asked, go ahead and do it. Remember not to stray away from the original question asked. DON'T VOLUNTEER INFORMATION. If you don't know the answer to a question, say', "I don't know". If you don't remember a specific incident or time, say "I don't recall" or "I don't remember". If you didn't hear or don't understand a question, ask that the question be repeated. Don't guess at an answer. Don't give opinions unless you have been qualified as an expert witness. Do give honest, impartial, and complete answers to all questions asked. During morning or afternoon breaks and lunch recess do not speak with members of the jury or defense attorneys. Only speak with the Deputy District Attorney. D. Testifying as an expert witness In some criminal cases, you may be called upon to testify as an expert witness and the defense attorney may cross examine you on your qualifications and professional experience. They might also take you on "voir dire". This is a French term meaning "to speak the truth". It is here the defense attorney will ask questions relating to your expert qualifications and experience. When stating your qualifications, don't exaggerate nor downplay your experience and/or training. Remember, it is the courts final decision on whether you are qualified as an expert witness and able to give expert witness testimony and opinions. In court/civil depositions, you may also be required to testify as an expert witness. You will be asked to give your qualifications and experience just as you would if you were in court. Anyone with special knowledge or experience with respect to the subject in question (fire cause determination) may qualify through a showing of training or experience to testify as an expert. The final decision as to who may testify as an expert rests with the court. In nearly all criminal cases, you will be testifying as a witness for the prosecution. You may be asked to give testimony as to the incendiary nature of the fire and how it relates to a particular case. It is important you meet prior to court with the Deputy District Attorney handling the case to determine what you will be expected to testify to. Go over your qualifications and professional experience that may qualify you as an expert witness.

147

Be familiar with the questions ahead of time that the Deputy District Attorney will ask in qualifying you as an expert witness. These questions will usually relate to your formal as well as on the job training. A sample questionnaire containing questions which may arise during testimony to qualify you as an expert are as follows: Who are you employed by? How long have you been a member of the Fire Department? What is your present assignment? How long have you been in your present assignment? What are your duties and responsibilities in your present assignment? Have you attended any courses or received any special training in fire cause and origin determination? How many fires have you investigated to determine the cause and origin? Have you qualified in court as an expert witness? On (date), what was your assignment? Did you respond to an incident at (location)? What were your observations when you arrived at the scene? Did you conduct an investigation to determine the cause and origin for the fire? Did you form an opinion as to the cause of the fire? What is your opinion as to the cause and origin of this fire? The answer should be limited to a statement of the most probable source of ignition and the first material ignited.

148

What did you base your opinion on? This question should be answered based on the physical evidence observed at the scene. Be prepared to explain exactly what information you based your opinion on and how the evidence and/or statements played a role in the development of your opinion. Remember, almost anything is possible. You will, in all probability, be given a hypothetical set of facts slightly different than the facts you based your opinion on. You may then be requested to give an opinion based on this hypothetical set of facts. Don't be afraid to modify your opinion. You can add your comments as to why the hypothetical set of facts is different or not applicable to this particular case. As an expert witness you may also offer information to explain or clarify your answers to preclude the possibility of misleading the court. This is extremely important. When you are testifying as an expert, you are allowed this latitude to explain your opinions as long as it is pertinent to the formulation of your answer. This latitude is not allowed when responding as a lay witness to questions not involving expert opinion. E. Definitions 1. Juvenile hearing Although less formal than an adult trial, the rules and procedures of the court still are to be followed. There is no jury and the judge or juvenile commissioner rules on the outcome of the trial. You will still be called to the witness stand and will testify under oath. 2. City Attorney trial/hearings This is a trial or hearing where misdemeanor cases are handled. Most arson cases are felonies, but some may be reduced to misdemeanors and you can be called to testify in those incidents. Remember the misdemeanor cases are also handled in a courtroom and your conduct should be the same as in any other courtroom. 3. Preliminary hearing This usually occurs within ten days of the arraignment which must occur within 48 hours of the arrest excluding holidays and week-ends. The exception to this is when the defendant bails out or waives time.

149

The purpose of this hearing which is before a judge (no jury) is for the people (prosecution) to establish a "prima facie" case (Latin term meaning "first appearance") to show there is sufficient evidence to show a crime has occurred and there is probable cause to show the defendant is responsible for that crime. 4. Superior Court trial This trial is held within 60 days of the Superior Court arraignment. The purpose of this trial is to establish the innocence or the guilt (beyond a reasonable doubt) of the defendant. It is the defendants choice to have a trial by jury (twelve men or women) or by the court (judge only). 5. Civil Court trials A non-criminal trial where one individual/company (plaintiff) is suing another individual/company (defendant). These trials usually involve product liability, negligence, or bad faith suits against insurance companies. 6. Civil depositions These informal meetings usually involve two or more attorneys representing plaintiffs and defendants involved in civil litigation. Both the plaintiffs attorney and the defendants attorney will question you. There is a court reporter present to take down all questions and answers. Civil depositions are usually conducted prior to going to civil trial. 7. Voir Dire A procedure in which questions are asked by an attorney or the court to test the witnesses competency and expertise relating to elements or issues pertaining to a particular subject or case. This is usually applicable in our situation to qualifying as an expert witness. The court has the final decision as to whether a witness can testify as an expert.

150

X.

ARSON LAWS A. California State Penal Code 1. Section 450- Definitions: a. Structure - any building, or commercial or public tent, bridge, tunnel or powerplant. Forest land - any brush covered land, cut-over land, forest, grasslands, or woods. Property - real property or personal property, other than a structure or forest land. Inhabited - currently being used for dwelling purposes whether occupied or not. "Inhabited structure" and "inhabited property" do not include the real property on which an inhabited structure or an inhabited property is located. Maliciously - imports a wish to vex, defraud, annoy or injure another person, or an intent to do a wrongful act, established either by proof or presumption of law. Recklessly - a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his or her act will set fire to, burn, or cause to burn a structure, forest land, or property. The risk shall be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. A person who creates such a risk but is unaware thereof by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect thereto.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

2.

Section 451 - Punishment for Arson. A person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land or property. a. Arson that causes great bodily injury is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years.

151

b.

Arson that causes an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years. Arson of a structure or forest land is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years. Arson of property is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years. For purposes of this paragraph, arson of property does not include one burning or causing to be burned his or her own personal property unless there is an intent to defraud or there is injury to another person or another person's structure, forest land or property.

c.

d.

3.

Section 452 - Punishment for unlawfully causing a fire. A person is guilty of unlawfully causing a fire when he or she recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property. a. Unlawfully, causing a fire that causes great bodily injury is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine, or by both such imprisonment and fine. Unlawfully causing a fire that causes an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine, or by both such imprisonment and fine. Unlawfully causing a fire of a structure or forest land is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or by a fine, or by both such imprisonment and fine.

b.

c.

152

d.

Unlawfully causing a fire of property is a misdemeanor. For purposes of this paragraph, unlawfully causing a fire of property does not include one burning or causing to be burned his/her own personal property unless there is injury to another person or to another person's structure, forestland or property. In the case of any person convicted of violating this section while confined in a state prison, prison camp, prison forest camp or other prison camp or prison farm, or while confined in a county jail while serving a term of imprisonment for a felony or misdemeanor conviction, any sentence imposed shall be consecutive to the sentence for which the person was then confined.

e.

4.

Section 453 - Possession of flammable or explosive materials; Manufacture of firebombs. a. Every person who possesses any flammable, explosive or combustible material or substance, or any device in an arrangement or preparation, with intent to willfully and maliciously use such material, substance or device to set fire to or burn any structure, forest land, or property, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding one year. Every person who possesses, manufactures, or disposes of a firebomb is guilty of a felony (For purposes of this section, "disposes of" means give, give away, loan, offer, offer for sale, sell, or transfer). A "firebomb" is a breakable container containing a flammable liquid with a flash point of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less, having a wick or similar device capable of being ignited.

b.

5.

Section 455 - Attempts; commission of preliminary acts. Any person who willfully and maliciously attempts to set fire to or attempts to burn or to aid, counsel or procure the burning of any structure, forest land or property or who commits any act preliminary thereto, or in furtherance thereof, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years.

153

The placing or distributing of any flammable, explosive or combustible material or substance, or any device in or about any structure, forest land or property in an arrangement or preparation with intent to eventually willfully and maliciously set fire to or burn same, or to procure the setting fire to or burning of the same shall, for the purposes of this act constitute an attempt to burn such structure, forest land or property. 6. Section 456 - Fine imposed on conviction for felony. a. Upon conviction for any felony violation of this chapter, in addition to the penalty prescribed, the court may impose a fine not to exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) unless a greater amount is provided by law. When any person is convicted of a violation of any provision of this chapter and the reason he committed the violation was for pecuniary gain, in addition to the penalty prescribed and instead of the fine provided in subdivision a, the court may impose a fine of twice the anticipated or actual gross gain.

b.

7.

Section 12303.3 - Possession, explosion, or igniting of a destructive device with intent to injure or intimidate. Every person who possesses, explodes, ignites or attempts to explode or ignite any destructive device or any explosive with intent to injure, intimidate or terrify any person, or with intent to wrongfully injure or destroy any property, is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, five, or seven years.

8.

Section 148.2 - Interfering with firefighter or emergency rescue personnel at fire. Every person who willfully commits any of the following acts at the burning of a building or at any other time and place where any firefighter or firefighters or emergency rescue personnel are discharging or attempting to discharge an official duty is guilty of a misdemeanor: a. Resists or interferes with the lawful efforts of any firefighters or emergency rescue personnel in the discharge or attempt to discharge an official duty.

154

b. c.

Disobeys the lawful orders of any firefighter or public officer. Engages in any disorderly conduct which delays or prevents a fire from being timely extinguished. Forbids or prevents others from assisting' in extinguishing a fire or exhorts another person, as to whom he has no legal right or obligation to protect or control, from assisting in extinguishing a fire.

d.

9.

Section 148.3 - False report of emergency. a. Any individual who reports, or causes any report to be made, to any city, county, city and county, or state department, district, agency, division, commission, or board, that an "emergency" exists, knowing that such report is false, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding one year, or by a fine, not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment. Any individual who reports, or causes any report to be made, to any city, county, city and county, or state department, district, agency, division, commission, or board, that an "emergency" exists, knowing that such report is false, and great bodily injury or death is sustained by any person as a result of such false report, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment. "Emergency" as used in this section means any condition which results in, or which could result in, the response of a public official in an authorized emergency vehicle, or any condition which jeopardizes or could jeopardize public safety and results in, or could result in, the evacuation of any area, building, structure, vehicle or of any other place which any individual may enter.

b.

c.

155

10.

Section 148.3 - Tampering with fire protection equipment; a. Any person who willfully and maliciously tampers with, molests, injures, or breaks any fire protection equipment, fire protection installation, fire alarm apparatus, wire or signal, or willfully and maliciously sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by means of any fire alarm system or signal or by any other means or methods,' is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding one year, or by a fine, not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000), or by both such fine and imprisonment. Any person who willfully and maliciously sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by means of any fire alarm system or signal, or by any other means or methods, and great bodily injury or death is sustained by any person as a result thereof, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

b.

B.

California State Insurance Code 1. Section 1871.1 - False or fraudulent claim. It is unlawful to: a. Present or cause to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss under a contract of insurance. Prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with intent to present or use the same, or to allow it to be presented or used in support of any claim.

b.

Every person who violates any provision of this section is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, or by fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both unless the value of the fraud exceeds fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), in which event the fine may exceed the value of the fraud.

156

C.

Los Angeles Municipal Code 1. Fireworks Section 57.55.01. a. It shall be unlawful for any person to use give, possess, sell or discharge any fireworks, except that under permit by the chief and in accordance with the provisions of the Health and Safety Code of the State of California, patriotic, civic, and religious organizations may conduct public fireworks displays. Every display shall be under the control and supervision of a Pyrotechnic Operator, licensed by the State Fire Marshal and shall be conducted under conditions as required by the Chief. The fireworks in public displays shall be located, discharged, and of such character so as not to be hazardous to persons or property. Fireworks may be shipped, delivered or sold for delivery, to points outside this City where the sale or use thereof is lawful, by any wholesaler, retailer, jobber, warehousemen, or a manufacturer, or manufactured for such sale or distribution only, or kept in storage in a safe and secure place pending the lawful removal thereof; but no fireworks shall be handled, manufactured or stored hereunder without the express written approval of the Chief. Such approval shall be revocable for cause and shall be granted only upon application therefor, setting forth a description of the place of storage or manufacture and such other information as the Chief shall require. Storage: Fireworks shall be stored in compliance with the following: (1) A maximum of 500 pounds may be stored in approved portable magazines complying with the provisions of L.A.F.D. Standard No. 40 and in a location approved by the Chief. Quantities in excess of 500 pounds shall be stored in a room of one-hour, fire-resistive construction. Door openings therein shall be protected by one-hour assemblies. Such rooms shall. be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.

b.

c.

(2)

d.

Violations and filings related to fireworks will be handled by the LAFD Legal Unit.

157

XI.

GLOSSARY ACCELERANT Something, usually a flammable liquid, used to increase the spread of fire. ACCIDENTAL A fire caused by chance, by natural causes, by design or mechanical failure/malfunction. The nonintentional act (or failure to act) of a human being. ALLIGATORING Char patterns formed on burned wood. AMPERE (AMP) A unit of flow of electricity. ANNEALING To heat metal or glass, and then slowly cool resulting in a less brittle (softer) material. ARC When an electric current is interrupted, either intentionally (by a switch) or accidentally (because of a loosened terminal), heating that results from high resistance. AREA OF ORIGIN The general area where a fire may have started. It is not limited to the specific point of origin. ARSON A crime. The willful and malicious burning of a structure, forestland or property. ARSONIST Any person who willfully and maliciously sets fires. AUTOPSY Inspection and partial dissection of a dead body to determine the cause of death. BACKDRAFT An explosion or rapid burning of heated gases resulting from the introduction of oxygen when air is admitted to a building heavily charged by smoke from a fire which has depleted the oxygen of a building.

158

BOILOVER Overflow of flammable liquid from a container due to heat from a fire, or due to the excessive application of water which agitates and floats the burning liquid over the top of the container. BREACH Opening made in a wall to permit rescue, operation of hose lines or removal of stock. BRITISH THERMAL UNIT The amount of heat necessary to raise the 'temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. BURGLARY The entering of any structure with the intent to commit grand or petty larceny or any felony. BURN PATTERN Used to define and illustrate the progress of a fire by means of visible charring, decomposition, and displacement. CALCINATION The dehydration of wallboard (gypsum) when exposed to heat. CARBON MONOXIDE One of the most common gases found in structural fires and is highly flammable. CAUSE Used to identify and describe the igniting agent or heat source of a particular fire. CHAIN OF EVIDENCE The chain of custody (possession) of an item of evidence from the point in time where it was first discovered until the time that it is offered as an exhibit in court. CHAR The remains of burned materials. CHECKERING The breaking of heated glass when water is applied to its surface. CIRCUIT BREAKER A type of electrical overcurrent device. CIVIL DISORDERS Also riots and/or political activity. Fire is used as a weapon often creating the illusion a large group of people is involved in firesetting in a specific area. (See Motives) 159

CLASS A FIRES Fires involving ordinary combustibles best extinguished by cooling action. CLASS B FIRES Fires involving flammable liquids usually extinguished by smothering agents. CLASS C FIRES Fires involving equipment live electrical CLASS D FIRES Fires involving combustible metals. COMBUSTIBLE A material that will ignite and burn when sufficient heat is applied. COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID A liquid having a flash point at or above 100 degrees F. CONDUCTION The process by which heat is communicated from one body to another by direct contact or through an intervening solid, liquid, or heat-conducting medium. CONFLAGRATION A major fire usually covering a considerable area and one which crosses natural fire barriers usually involving buildings in more than one block and frequently resulting in a large loss. CONVECTION The transfer of heat by a circulating medium, usually a gas or a liquid. CORPUS DELECTI The fundamental facts (elements) necessary to prove the commission of a crime (body of the crime). CRAZING Stress cracks in glass as a result of heating. CRIME COVER A fire set to cover another crime. It is assumed the fire will destroy evidence of the original crime. (See Motives) CURRENT ELECTRICITY Energy that is transferred through conductors by means of the movement of free electrons that migrate from atom to atom inside the conductor. DEAD LOAD The weight of the structure and any equipment and appliances permanently attached.

160

DEBRIS The results of f ire destruction; rubble at a fire scene. DEEP-SEATED A fire that has burrowed into baled stocks, grain storage and other combustibles as contrasted with a surface fire. Deep charring of structural members. DEVICE Any mechanical means used to start a fire or explosion. DIVISION WALL A wall which effectively divides a building into separate fire areas. Also known as a fire wall. EVIDENCE That which makes clear or ascertains the truth of the very fact or point in issue, whether from the prosecution or the defense. EXPLOSION The sudden and rapid escape of gases from a confined space, accompanied by high temperatures, violent shock, and a loud noise. Mechanical- an explosion that occurs within a container or vessel. Chemicals an explosion caused by the rapid conversion of a chemical compound into gases. Nuclear- an explosion occurring within the atom of an element and may be either nuclear fission or nuclear fusion. EXPLOSIVE LIMITS The upper and lower percentage of air/gas mixture in which combustion will be supported. (Flammable limits) EXPOSURE Property that may be endangered by a fire in another structure or by an outside fire. FIRE Rapid oxidation usually with the evolution of heat and light.

161

FIRE BEHAVIOR The manner in which fuel ignites, flame develops and fire spreads. Sometimes used with reference to the characteristics of a particular fire as distinguished from normal fire characteristics. FIRE LOAD The measure of the maximum heat that would be released if all the combustibles in a given fire area burned. FIRE RESISTIVE A structure or assembly of materials built to provide a predetermined degree of fire resistance usually as called for by building and fire prevention codes. FIRE STOPPING The blocking off of concealed spaces of structures to prevent unseen extension of fire throughout walls and ceilings. FIRE TETRAHEDRON Flame usually has four parts which are necessary for self-sustaining open flaming combustion. They are heat, fuel, oxygen and an uninhibited chain reaction among all parts of the tetrahedron. FIRE TRIANGLE The components, heat, fuel and oxygen, that when joined together, generate fire. FLAME The light given off by burning gases. FLAME RESISTANT Material or surface of a nature that does not propagate flame once an outside source of flame has been removed. FLAME SPREAD The rate at which flames spread over surfaces of various materials such as building finishes, fabrics, etc. FLAMMABILITY The relative ease with which various fuels ignite and burn, regardless of the quantity of fuel involved. FLAMMABLE A combustible material that ignites easily, burns intensely, or has a rapid rate of flame spread. (Same as inflammable) FLAMMABLE LIQUID A liquid having a flash point below 100 degrees F.

162

FLASHBACK Tendency -of a flammable liquid fire to flash from the source of ignition back to the flammable liquids container. FLASHOVER Stage of fire when a room or other area becomes heated to the point where flames flash over the entire surface or area. FLASH POINT The lowest temperature at which a substance gives off vapor sufficient to form an ignitable mixture with the air near the surface of the substance. FORCIBLE ENTRY Techniques used by fire departments to enter closed and locked buildings with minimum delay and property damage. FRAUD A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain. (See Motives) FREE-BURNING PHASE A phase where the fire is fully developed after drawing in air from the surrounding atmosphere. Oxygen content of area is usually reduced to 16% to 18%. FUSEE A common road flare. GHOST MARKS Caused by the application of a flammable liquid to a surface that is covered with asphalt tile. GROUND FAULT An insulation failure between a conductor and ground, where the failure is not to a grounded conductor normally intended to carry current in the circuit. HEAT Temperatures above the normal atmospheric temperatures, as produced by the burning or oxidation process. HEAT FRACTURING Glass that breaks due to a slow buildup of heat. Generally smaller than crazing. HEAT TRANSFER The transfer of heat by convection, conduction, and/or radiation. HOMICIDE (murder) The unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought. (Murder)

163

HUMIDITY A moderate degree of dampness in the atmosphere. IGNITION The beginning of flame propagation or burning. The starting of a fire. IGNITION TEMPERATURE The minimum temperature to which a substance must be heated in air in order to ignite independently of the heating element. IMPACT LOAD Loads which are delivered in a short period of time. Examples of impact loads are explosions, winds and earthquakes. INCENDIARY A fire set by a human being with willful and malicious intent. INCENDIARY DEVICE A device which would assist in the setting and/or spreading of a fire. It may also offer a delay factor. INCIPIENT PHASE First stage of fire development after ignition. Flames are localized and room has a normal oxygen content and temperature. INTENT The deliberateness of the act. INVERTED "V" PATTERN A burn pattern created by very rapid intense combustion. The highly heated gases rise vertically and the thermal column draws the adjacent air in towards the flame in a venturi type action. The pattern exhibited is a shape similar to a mountain peak with a sharp line of demarcation between severe and moderate char or heat. Indicates the possible presence of a flammable accelerant. JUVENILES Those under the age of 18. Although not a motive, this age group is often involved in many different types of firesetting. (See Motives) KNOCKDOWN To reduce flame and heat so as to prevent danger of further extension of fire. LIGHTNING The discharge of electrical energy from a cloud to an opposite charge on another cloud or the ground.

164

LIVE LOAD Any load other than a dead load. Examples of common live loads are occupants, storage and furnishings. L. P. GAS Liquefied petroleum gas. One of several petroleum products such as butane or propane stored under pressure as a liquid and vaporized and burned as gas. MATCHBOOK DEVICE An incendiary device consisting of a paper matchbook with an ignited cigarette placed within its cover, eventually igniting the matches. MOLOTOV COCKTAIL A breakable container filled with a flammable liquid. It may be ignited either by a wick or a variety of other means. (Firebomb) generally thrown. MOTIVE A reason for things being done. Something that causes a person to act (See specific motives under separate headings). NEGATIVE CORPUS The establishment of a criminal fire based on the methodical elimination of all natural, mechanical and accidental causes for the fire. NONCOMBUSTIBLE Not subject to combustion under ordinary conditions of temperature and normal oxygen content of atmosphere. NONFLAMMABLE Material which will not burn under most conditions. OHMS Resistance. Opposition offered by a material to the flow of current. OVERHAUL A term used to cover or describe the operation of looking for a hidden flame or spark that may rekindle the fire. POINT OF ORIGIN The precise location of initial ignition of the substance involved, usually the location of the heat source. PROTECTED AREA The clean or unburned area left by stock, furniture, contents etc., covering shelves, floors, or other combustible fuels.

165

PYRO/PSYCHO Short for pyromaniac. The uncontrollable impulse to start fires. (See Motives) PYROLYSIS The chemical decomposition of matter through the action of heat. PYROMANIA The uncontrollable impulse to start fires. PYROPHORIC CARBON Pure carbon that has the ability to absorb heat and can become hot enough to cause surrounding fuels to reach ignition temperature. PYROPHORIC MATERIALS Materials that ignite spontaneously. RADIATION The transfer of heat from one body to another by heat rays through intervening space. Much the same manner as light is transferred by light rays. REKINDLE The re-ignition of a fire due to latent heat, sparks or embers, or due to the presence of smoke or steam. SEARCH AND SEIZURE Involves the examination of ones house or other buildings or premises, or their person, with a view to the discovery of contraband or some evidence of guilt. This may be used in the prosecution of a criminal action for some crime or offense with which one may be charged. SEAT OF FIRE Area where main body of fire is located as determined by outward movement of heat and gases and where the fire is most deep seated. SET Incendiary fire, or the point or points of origin of an incendiary fire. SHORT CIRCUIT A fault where there is an abnormal connection between two points of different voltage in a circuit. SMOLDERING PHASE The decaying stage of the fire where the oxygen may drop below 15%, filling the area with dense smoke. SMOKE DAMAGE Damage caused by smoke when it is not accompanied by fire damage.

166

SPALL Crumbling or fracturing of pieces of concrete or brick during exposure to heat or mechanical force. It may be indicative of elevated localized heating as a result of a concentrated fuel load such as burning flammable liquid. Spalling may also be the result of rapid cooling of the surface or expanding moisture/steam within the masonry material. SPECIFIC GRAVITY The ratio of the weight or mass of the given volume of a substance to that of an equal volume of another substance used as a standard. SPITE/REVENGE To set a fire in an act of retaliation in order to get even. (See Motives) SPONTANEOUS IGNITION The process wherein substances or compounds ignite as a result of an increase in temperature of the substance or compound without an independent outside ignition source and without drawing heat from its surroundings. SPOT FIRES Fires started by airborne embers or burning debris from an established fire. STATIC ELECTRICITY An electric charge produced by an actual transfer of electrons from some atoms onto others. SUBPOENA A writ or order requiring the attendance of a person at a particular time and place to testify as a witness. SUSPICIOUS Where circumstances and logic indicate an incendiary fire, and an accidental cause cannot be eliminated. TORCH A professional firesetter. TRAILERS Long trails of fast-burning materials used by arsonists to rapidly spread the fire from one area to another. UNDETERMINED A fire where there is more than one viable cause, none of the possible causes indicating an incendiary fire. The specific cause or opinion as to the cause cannot be established.

167

UTILITIES Relating to fire investigation, the electricity, water and gas entering a structure. V" PATTERN A burning pattern created by the normal growth of fire in an upward and outward manner. VANITY A fire set by an individual who wants attention for finding and sometimes extinguishing a fire. A fire set by someone who also seeks to secure their job position. (See Motives) VAPOR A substance in the gaseous state as distinguished from the liquid or solid state. VAPOR DENSITY The ratio of a given volume of gas to an equal volume of air. VENTILATION A technique for opening a burning building to remove heated gases and smoke, to prevent explosive concentrations and to permit-advancement of hose lines into effective positions for fire extinguishment. VOLATILITY Tendency of a material to readily vaporize. VOLT A unit of electrical pressure, the force which causes electricity to flow through a conductor. WATT The watt is a unit of power. A current of one ampere flowing under pressure of one volt equals one watt.

168

XII.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Books Carter, Robert E. Arson Investigation. PUBLISHER, 1978. Cole, Lee S. Investigation of Motor-Vehicle Fire. 3rd Edition, Lee Books, 1992. DeHaan, JohnFire Investigation. 3rd Edition, PUBLISHER, DATE. Few, Edward W. Wildland Fire Protection for the Western Pacific United States Forest Service, 1985. Fitch, Richard D., and Porter, Edward Accidental or Incendiary. PUBLISHER, 1974. French, Harvey M. The Anatomy of Arson. PUBLISHER, 1979. Kennedy, John. Fire-Arson-Explosion Investigation. Investigation Institute, 1977. Powell, William. The Anarchist Cookbook. Barricade Books Inc., 1977. Yereance, Robert A. Electrical Fire Analysis, Charles C. Thomas Publishing, 1987. Reference Works Arson Investigation and Prosecution Symposium. California District Attorneys Association, 1984. Arson. Some Problems and Solutions. NFPA Publication #SPP.38, 1976. California Penal Code. West Publishing, 1993. Fire/Arson Detection - Instructors Guide. National Fire Academy, National Emergency Training Center, 1989.

169

Fire/Arson Investigation. National Fire Academy, National Emergency Training Center, 1989. Fire Cause Determination for Company Officers. National Fire Academy, United States Fire Administration, June 1993. Fire Code City of Los Angeles, Article 7 of Chapter V of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, 1992. Fire Investigation. California Department of Forestry, Fire Academy, DATE. Fire Investigation Handbook. United States Department of Commerce, 1980. Fire Investigation 1 and 2 Instructors Manuals. California Fire Service Training and Education Service, 1988. Fire Investigation 1 and 2 Student Manuals. California Fire Service Training and Education Service, 1988. Fire investigation Training manual. Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Investigation Section, 1994. Fire Protection Handbook. 17th Edition, NFPA, 1992. Los Angeles Municipal Code. City of Los Angeles, DATE Manual for Investigation of Vehicle Fires. National Automobile Theft Bureau, 1986. Manual of the Los Angeles Police Department City of Los Angeles, 1993. Pocket Guide to Arson Investigation. Factory Mutual Engineering Corporation, 4th Edition, 1992. Bulletins Roof and Building Construction, Los Angeles Fire Department, Training Bulletin No. 19, April 1983.

170