Question

You are responding to a house fire at the single-floor ranch home of the local petrochemical plant foreman. You have been told by detectives from your agency that the foreman in the local Novandon Petrochemical Plant recently had to lay off about one-third of the factory staff. The cuts were because of the poor economy, but the layoffs were seen as personal because the foreman is a difficult individual to get along with. The foreman and his family were out of the area for the weekend, so nobody was injured. A neighbor saw 3 men in a pickup truck with a chemical plant parking decal leave the neighborhood just prior to the fire's breakout.

The battalion fire chief has released the scene as safe. The battalion chief indicates to you that the fire appeared to have started in the attached garage and the kitchen at about the same time. This indicates an arson fire. The garage is a painted concrete slab, and the kitchen has linoleum tiles. You must now start your scene investigation. You have a new partner, and you want to make sure that he knows what to consider in terms of accelerants.

Where do you think you should instruct your partner to look for evidence of accelerant use? Why?
What type of detection for accelerants would you use? Why?
What type of crime scene perimeter do you think would be best to establish? Why?

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A fire investigation includes a close surveillance of the damaged scene to determine the cause of the fire and the origin. According to Steck-Flynn (2013) establishing the origin of the fire is the first duty that a fire investigator should complete on arrival at the fire...

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