What is Arson? Criminal Investigation Essay

What is Arson? Criminal Investigation Essay

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What are the main things to remember in the preliminary investigation of a suspected arson? What is Arson? Arson is defined as the persistent burning of a building or someone’s property in a mischievous way. The fire department is usually the ones who receive the fire call to begin with. Then the fire personnel make out the reports and then send them over to the state fire marshal. Followed by the insurance companies being present in the investigation, and with their work they are parallel to the fire and police workers. A scene of a fire is usually messy and also; complicated and making it hard to find evidence if investigators happen to find it being arson related. Even though fire fighters are the ones who most of the time, find out if it was arson or not, investigators have to understand what makes the scene an arson, or an accidental fire; by knowing which evidence and collaborated information by proving the materials of a criminal act (Hess, Orthman, 2013).
According to McGraw Hill, “One practical way to investigate the cause of the fire is to find the point of creation. After the area of origin has been established, the investigator should check for the level of origin by examining the bottoms of shelves, ledges, moldings, and furniture and all sides of the legs, arms, and framework of reconstructed furniture. The floor and lower areas of the room produce the most clues to the cause for the fire, because they are living areas” (McGraw Hill, 2002).

Where and how did the fire start? There are two components that cause a fire, a heat source, and the material ignited. According to Hess, Orthman, “The point of origin is established in finding the area with the deepest char, alligatoring and usually the greatest destr...


... middle of paper ...


...nd remarks or unusual changes. Also look for evidence of disabled or turned-off alarms or sprinkler systems and doors left open. Finally, look for evidence of motive. Hard evidence in arson would be computer data, even if the computer has been burned; the hard drive may be intact. Also identifying accelerants at a scene is good evidence, using a gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector can identify 95 percent of the cases. Sifting of ashes, use hypodermic or cooking syringes to collect accelerants in cracks or floor boards” (Hess, Orthman, 2013).



Works Cited

Hess/Orthmann, C., & Matison/Hess, K. (2013). Criminal investigation. (Tenth ed., p.g 485-
500). New York: Delmar Cengage Learning
McGraww Hill (2002) McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Retrieved from http://highered.mcgraw-
hill.com/sites/0072564938/student_view0/chapter18/chapter_outline.html

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