Fire investigations are sometimes referred to as "origin and cause" investigations
Cellmark has a team of experienced forensic fire scene investigators and we provide our police customers with a national 24/7/365 call-out service for attendance at fire scenes.
In fire investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies, it is often necessary to prove that a crime has actually occurred, such as whether the fire was intentionally set. A typical fire case will therefore involve expert analysis at the scene by a fire scene investigator to determine the origin and cause of the fire, and interpretation of the results of the chemical analysis of fire debris.
Fire debris samples are taken at the point where the fire is suspected of starting to investigate the potential presence of accelerants. Similarly, a suspect’s clothing or footwear may be seized for analysis. Accelerants, typically flammable liquids, are often found to have been used in arson cases to assist in the initiation and propagation of a fire. Some accelerants are even capable of causing explosions.
Cellmark provides a rapid ISO 17025 accredited accelerant analysis service. In more complex cases, particularly if there has been a fatality, various other types of chemical and biological evidence may be relevant and several forensic disciplines may therefore be involved. Cellmark’s fire scene investigators are experts at assessing and determining the ignition source, and can also offer advice on other evidence types which may assist in investigating who was involved in an incident, such as glass analysis, the examination of clothing for evidence of exposure to heat, and DNA profiling.