The fire forensics division in our laboratory emphasizes mainly the determination of origin/site of a fire in those cases which encompasses vehicle or property fire, followed by the determination of the root cause of the fire and this eventually aids in distinguishing between fire and arson. By vehicle fire, we mean fire in all types of vehicles such as trucks, e-rickshaws, cars, tempo, etc., and by property fire, we mean fire in houses, factories, plants, etc. Since, fire has the ability to mask/conceal crucial evidence present at the incident place, a detailed and systematic approach is what we adopt to solve the case. In addition to this, our investigation methodology is pertinent to small and large fires and those involving fatalities as well.
Our well-qualified and experienced team of experts routinely conducts investigations based on standard protocols which commence from collecting exhibits to providing a persuasive and effective explanation of our opinions and reports to insurance companies and courts.
The fire department of Sherlock institute of forensic science is dedicated to the detection, investigation, collection of evidence found in an arson case. The experts from our fire team visit crime scenes scour the area for evidence gathering, which leads to the identification of the different types of devices or fuels that were used in the respective case. This physical evidence attained by a systematic approach lead the expert to distinguish between fire and arson.
The systematic examination of this evidence such as fuel or source of evidence. A proper guideline established by law enforcement is followed by our team in order to bring out the findings.
The objective of our fire department is to help insurance sectors and law enforcement agencies with the truth. This allows our client to analyze the situation and establish whether or not the claim is fraudulent. Also, it helps law enforcement agencies in their ruling.
ESTABLISHING THE ORIGIN OF FIRE – It is important to identify the spot from which the fire was initiated and it can be achieved by assessing the area of heaviest damage and less damage. Usually, the heaviest fire damage arises at or near the point of origin of the fire. Analysis of fire patterns, evaluation of charred and burned portions, examination of glass fractures, estimation of the condition of vehicles or appliances at the premises are some of the parameters that help establish the origin of the fire. There may be more than one point of origin of fire available and this is, at times, an indication of the intentional setting of fire i.e. arson.
ESTABLISHING THE ROOT CAUSE OF FIRE – Since, fire in the vehicle or premises could be accidental or a result of a deliberate act, therefore establishing its root cause is essential. It is concerned with determining the factors and circumstances that lead to the occurrence of fire. Careful inspection, as well as analysis of potential heat and power sources, detected at or near the point of origin of the fire is needed for the establishment of the root cause of the fire.
CHEMICAL EXAMINATION OF DEBRIS COLLECTED FROM THE SCENE OF FIRE – Once collected debris is subjected to authentication, their chemical examination is the next phase required for successful case resolution. However, this is entirely up to the query raised by our client, whether to chemically examine the debris collected or not. The possibility of a potential or unintentional fire is ascertained by obtaining results from the chemical examination conducted on the debris collected.
INVESTIGATION KIT – It comprises barricading tape, measuring tape, tongs, tweezers, forceps, pliers, screwdriver, and various other tools to access the crime scene. Other than these, it comprises gloves, masks, goggles for the safety of the investigator. It also comprises marking boards and different packaging material, in order to mark the exhibits found at the crime scenes and later, lift and pack these exhibits.
DSLR CAMERA – Photographic, as well as video graphic evidence, are collected from the incident scene using DSLR, which supports the information of persuasive opinions and accurate reports.
STEREO ZOOM MICROSCOPE – It helps in observing a magnified view of the electrical wires collected from the scene of incidence. Each collected wire sample is initially cleaned to allow for microscopic analysis and photographed.
TLC KIT – This kit comprises of TLC chamber, TLC plates, and various chemicals, which helps in the chemical examination of fire debris and ultimately determine the presence or absence of petroleum products in it.
GAS CHROMATOGRAPHY – MASS SPECTROPHOTOMETER (GC-MS) – It is considered as the accepted standard for identification of ignitable liquids in fire debris collected from the scene of incidence. It is an instrumentation technique, which is much accurate and efficient.