Fire Investigation: 5 Helpful Tips for Documenting Arson Scenes

While note every fire investigation leads to a finding of arson investigator, it is better to prepare for such a possibility. Since fire scenes are complicated to analyze and investigate because of the sheer amount of physical evidence present at the scene, it can be tough to gather all the necessary data to build a case. However, following a few simple tips can make the whole process streamlined and, therefore, a lot easier. Listed below are five tips you can follow to gain as much as possible from a scene of arson-

  1. Be slow but precise- depending on the location of the fire; there may still be structures that could cause harm to you or those around you if they fell. Therefore, you should be slow but precise in your movements. This will also ensure that you do not accidentally move around important pieces of evidence that could lead to the individual responsible. Additionally, rushing through the crime scene could lead to you missing out on important details that you could otherwise make a note of by moving slowly.
  2. Photograph everything- while this may seem like a slow and tedious process, you must make sure that you take as many pictures as possible. If you find taking pictures in the dark a hard task, you should use different lighting techniques to get the right kind of pictures. You can look up articles and tutorials on how to light up the crime scene properly to capture as many details as possible.
  3. Question everyone- ensure that you speak to all individuals at the crime scene to piece together a proper timeline. While you may have a list of suspects in mind, you should widen your statement to anyone and everyone who could have been present at the scene. You can also talk to the first respondents at the scene, whether these are firefighters or civilians.


Collect evidence in the right manner- the evidence you find at the scene should be collected in the right manner to make sure that it is not contaminated in any way. This means you should use proper evidence bags and containers and pick up the evidence using the right tools. You may be able to find arson investigation kits online, which will give you clear ways to collect the evidence.

Ensure the right experts are involved- different fire scenes may require the expertise of different professional experts. If there are casualties in the fire, you will need the help of a Medical Examiner. Similarly, you will need to bring in experts to keep the scene blocked, so outsiders do not enter and contaminate the scene. You may also need a K-9 unit’s services to help you find the origin of the fire in the case of foul play.

Make sure to follow these steps to make your investigation a lot smoother!

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