Fire InvestigationFire accounts to be as a one of the most destructive forms of natural, accident or incidental property devastation that even caused a million of deaths. This occurred because there is a distinction on the origin and cause of fire. When you say there is burning, that might have to indicate a fire that burns outside or a fire that have started inside a house or any residence that involves any living creatures. Fire has various types, which include, forest fire, vehicle fires, and the most common type of it is residential fire.
However, the main concentration of this paper is on residential fire. Several motives might have induced the presence of fire that includes negligence and the most indifferent, the malicious motive that yield a criminal case of arson. There are however assigned task force that is capable of knowing the origin of fire. The Fire Investigation Division creates a team of skilled Fire Investigators to aid in the fire operation. In response to an accident caused by a fire, the chain of command ranges from the Incident Commander to the different Fire Investigators has address the need to determine the cause of fire.
The Incident Commander is responsible for requiring the presence of a Fire Investigator. Fires that usually needed their presence are: arson fires, suspicious fires, undetermined causes, fatalities, fire injuries, total loss, fires in institutional occupancies, or as deemed necessary by the Incident Commander. The foremost consideration why Fire Investigators created because in cases where the total damages wrecked by fire range from 50-90% and death losses climbed to 30%, there is an established supposition that this fire is not just the ordinary case of culpable negligence, there is something beneath that needed to be surfaced. Investigation.
Fire Investigation requires the knowledge and systematized approach on basic Fire science. It involves the discipline of forensic study. However, crime investigation on forensic provides an obvious criterion just by physically examining the crime scene and crime motives. In cases of fire especially suspicious fire, there is that inclination of the Fire Investigator the possible existence of arson. In the process of gathering information on accidental fire, the primary objective is to accumulate data that will help solve the problem and outline the paper in which to be reported through the media.
The first thing to do is to interview witnesses, by-passers, neighbors and the fire fighters themselves. They have to ask what have they seen that cause the fire or how is the pattern of the fire. Where did the smoke first emerge and how many are affected. Are there group of people inside the burning area. Such is the flow of the interview. Now if the area was fully secured, the Fire Investigator will opt to take still photographs to all the burned area, and things, which are necessary to obtain must be undergo for laboratory tests.
The Fire Investigator must thoroughly observe the area such the wirings, the position of things inside the burned area, and all relevant things that needed to be observe. There are some cases wherein the Fire Investigator needed the help of experts in order to help him uncover for the possible existence of fire, such as improper wirings, negligence while cooking, or other things that are accidentally made.
In one of the interview process, if the owner survived in the conflagration, the Investigator will ask if an engineer surveyed the building foundation. Because there is some cases that while trying to extinguish the fire, the building might collapse due to weak foundation of the building. In this case, the fire insurance company sometimes denies giving money because of lack of requirement such as building permits that authorized that the building foundation can potently survive the risks of collapsing in cases of fire.
After making his report he must submit the same to the incident commander. In arson case, there is a different treatment on this since there is an inherent intention of the perpetrator to burn the area, or least might be. Arson is categorized as a criminal case; therefore it follows the same principle of beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, what has contained in the investigation, it must have exceeded the natural patterns of fire accident, and more importantly, the evidence supports the arson motive beyond any reasonable doubt.
In the usual investigation process, the primary and necessary step is to examine the physical scene of a fire. When you say physical, this pertains the surrounding, the environmental area. If possible, the Investigator shall document the fire scene prior to the operations of fire fighters. If the fire was already extinguished and the whole area was secured, the Fire Investigator can now document the fire area. He shall proceed to the most burned area and to the least burned area. He can also interview any available witness during fire operations. Fire fighters must be interviewed to ask for their opinion on the origin of fire, as well as those spectators that have actually seen the incident.
In case of multiple alarm fire, the Incident Commander will call for additional investigator to gather those elements, which are deemed necessary in the process. He shall divide the responsibilities of each to fully utilize the investigation proper. One of the Investigator is tasked to interview witnesses, bystanders and first-in-fire fighters. The essence of gathering facts through interview is to establish the situation prior to the incident and not the subsequent changes that occurred in the gradual fire bursts.
Another investigator is tasked to determine the structure and fire patterns and established evidences from what he saw. The other one is tasked to document the scene through still photographs and videos to note of the fire patterns and fire changes. He will also secure for any possible evidences after the fire had extinguished. One of the challenging aspects of fire investigation is the presence of multi-disciplinary base of fire investigations. Fires have multiple origins; it involves those that can perceive by the eye and those that cannot.
Thus, a Fire Investigator usually not only adheres on the knowledge of basic fire science. He needed at least to have the knowledge on wirings and electricity, human psychological behavior, building construction and all fields that encompass the investigation of fire occurrence. Upon accepting his limit, he can request the assistance of ‘experts in their fields’ to help him analyze and piece the matter by presenting the collated documents and his possible conclusion to the expert.
The expert now can present to him the intervening cause, for instance, electric wirings, on the occurrence of fire. If diagrams were shown, this can be a reference for investigation to further his conclusion. After preparing his final conclusion and there is the elements of arson, he himself can testify in the criminal investigation.