Arson Investigation

Compose a 750 words assignment on arson investigation. Needs to be plagiarism free! An arson scene is not confirmed as an actual crime scene until days, hours or even weeks after the fire has been suppressed. The criminal fire scene would thus comprise various by-products of the combustion process that compromise the scene of criminal fire (Ross, 2009). These parameters include flame, heat, smoke, flame impingement and also the suppression operations. Besides setting up the protective yellow barrier tape, it is important to have individuals guarding the scene and who will testify against any claims of interference of the scene. Where an explosive reaction may have taken place, bomb technicians and emergency services must be called in. A security perimeter must be set up and access into and out of the scene should be restricted. This applies to the media, nonessential personnel and bystanders. Staging areas should be established to ensure that emergency vehicles have access to the area. Documentation of the scene should begin as soon as conditions permit. This includes identifying witnesses, taking notes, photographing and videotaping bystanders. The fire department personnel reach the fire scene before the fire investigators. The roles of these marshals according to Wayne and Karen (2007) include the recognition of any fire and smoke conditions, determination of the cause of a fire and detection of arson evidence. They would be expected to know about building construction and about various components necessary for ignition, explosion and general fires. In most jurisdictions, the fire department chief has a legal responsibility to determine the cause of the fire. The fire department personnel should observe, identify and preserve possible evidence, as well as report and recall objective findings (Russell, 2009). The actions and observations of the fire department personnel are at times useful in the process of apprehending and possibly convicting arsonists. They serve as the ears and eyes of the fire investigator and must therefore pass on their observations after extinguishing the fire, and as such may need to be interviewed or required to prepare a written report to document their observations. The state fire marshal’s office is charged with several responsibilities in the designated state. According to the National Association of State Fire Marshals (2011), the state fire marshal is responsible for adoption and enforcement of fire safety codes, fire and arson investigation and public education about fire and arson. The agency also advices state legislators and governors on fire protection and also fire incident reporting and analysis. It also maintains public records regarding fire inspection and prevention activities and fire investigation activities. At an arson scene, the state marshal’s office employs fire inspectors, fire safety technicians and forensic laboratory staff to assist with the investigations. It works hand in hand with law enforcement personnel in that it has extralegal powers to take statements through recognizing, summoning and questioning witnesses present during an act of arson. Insurance companies also work closely with the state fire marshal’s office. When there are fatalities at an arson scene, the medical examiner has the responsibility to examine and supervise the collection of the body. A series of tests will be run on the body starting with a detailed physical examination to a series of X-rays of the full body and document the extent of the burns for the report (Russell, 2009). The throat and mouth should be examined to see if there is soot.

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