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Fire and Arson Investigations


Fire and arson investigators examine the physical attributes of a fire scene and identify and collect physical evidence from the scene. This evidence is then analyzed to help determine if the cause of the fire was accidental or deliberate. During the scene examination, investigators may find evidence such as accelerants, tampered utilities, and specific burn patterns, which may indicate criminal activity.

NIJ addresses the specific needs of the fire and arson investigation community by funding research to develop new and improved tools and techniques to interpret, identify and analyze evidence at fire scenes.

NIJ funds research to:

  • Better understand fire dynamics.
  • Improve ways to detect, analyze and identify accelerants, such as gasoline.
Fire Investigation Full Scale Experiments to Study Impact of Ventilation on Fire Patterns
UL FSRI (see reuse policy).

Full-Scale Experiments to Study Impact of Ventilation on Fire Patterns

Under an NIJ grant, the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute's fire investigation project completed scientific research into how ventilation impacted fire patterns and electrical system damage in single-family homes. 

Fire and Arson Scene Evidence: A Guide for Public Safety Personnel

This handbook is intended as a guide to recommended practices for the collection and preservation of evidence at fire/arson scenes.