Investigating fire scenes is an arduous task. Fire accidents are not always arson scenes but the possibility seldom dies. Therefore in case of the slightest hint, fire investigation experts with specialization in arson should be hired to investigate the scene. Arson fires can be set because of multiple reasons like neglect, revenge, hatred or even because of some pyromaniacs. An arson expert must start proper documentation of the scene right from the onset of the investigation to get the best results. Documenting arson scenes is not an easy task and must be left to experts only. These few tips are necessary for proper documenting of arson scenes.
- Ensure Safety
Arson scenes can be hazardous and life-threatening, therefore, proper safety measures must be taken from the very beginning of the investigation. Protective clothing is a must while entering areas still under the fire impact. Clearance of the fire scene is important to safeguard the life of people. Burn victims should be helped immediately. As evidence could be present in the victim’s clothes, therefore, after they are secured their clothes and other stuff should be collected for investigation.
- Interact with the first responders and witnesses
An investigator on reaching the arson scene must interact with the people present there. Collect all the required details and document them properly for future references. Determine the amount of help needed and work for scene security. Talk to the witnesses and gather as much information as possible. Question everyone present there and make notes.
- Take Photographs and video
An investigator must click photographs of every essential location or person. He must make videos of the fire in progress and of the entire arson scene from all the possible angles so that they would remain safely documented. This task can become difficult to carry out in the dark so special techniques and tools must be used to make it possible. Take pictures of all the evidence and write their name, location and, time properly as it is very crucial to do so.
- Describe and document each detail
A detailed and written description of the entire case is a permanent record and can be easily reviewed in case any reference or recollection is required. The description can be done with the help of diagrams, drawings, and sketching of the crime scene. These written descriptions are very beneficial for judicial purposes. Documenting arson scene makes the work easier and efficient which helps in solving the case faster.
- Avoid contamination
Be sure to safeguard the entire arson scene from contamination. The integrity of the scene can be lost if it is polluted by the uncontrolled invasion of unnecessary people. Following points should be considered to prevent contamination:
- Usage of clean and protective outer garments and foot ware.
- Storage of evidence in properly sealed containers.
- Not allowing unnecessary access to the arson scene
- Storage of fire debris carefully
- Collection of evidence with proper tools to prevent mixing of DNAs and other essential information
Documenting arson scenes is essential to bring justice to the victims of the fire. Therefore, no carelessness can be shown while investigating such scenes.