safety personnel with the fire investigation process, so they may understand their role in this important task and help identify, locate, and preserve evidence

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U.S. Department of JusticeOffice of Justice Programs810 Seventh Street N.W. Washington, DC 20531 Janet RenoAttorney GeneralDaniel MarcusActing Associate Attorney GeneralMary Lou LearyActing Assistant Attorney GeneralJulie E. SamuelsActing Director, National Institute of Justice Office of Justice ProgramsNational Institute of Justice World Wide Web SiteWorld Wide Web Site http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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Julie E. SamuelsActing Director David G. Boyd, Ph.D. Deputy Director Richard M. Rau, Ph.D.Project Monitor Opinions or points of view expressed in this document represent a consensus of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice.The National Institute of Justice is a component of the Office of JusticePrograms, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Office of Juvenile Justice and DelinquencyPrevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

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iiiActions taken at the outset of an investigation at a fire and arson scene can play a pivotal role in the resolution of a case. Careful, thorough investigation is key to ensuring that potential physical evidence is not tainted or destroyed or potential witnesses overlooked. While many agencies have programs in fire and arson scene processing, the level of training and resources available varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as does the opportunity to practice actual investigation. To assist these agencies, the National Institute of Justice convened a group of law enforcement and legal practitioners, as well as expert fire investigators, to develop improved procedures for the investigation and collection of evidence from fire and arson scenes. I commend the hard work of the 31 members of the technical working group that created this Guide. They represent the law enforcement, prosecution, defense, and fire and arson investigation communities, and their collective expert knowledge, experience, and dedication made this effort a success. This Guide is one method of promoting quality fire and arson scene investigation. The type and scope of an investigation will vary from case to case. Every jurisdiction should give careful consideration to the recommendations in this Guide and to its own unique local conditions and logistical circumstances. Although factors that vary among investi- gations may call for different approaches or even preclude the use of certain procedures described in the Guide, consideration of the GuideÕsrecommendations may be invaluable to a jurisdiction shaping its own protocols.Janet Reno Message From the Attorney General

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vMessage From the President of the University ofCentralFlorida The University of Central Florida (UCF) is proud to take a leading role in the investigation of fire and explosion scenes through the establishment of the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS). The work of the CenterÕs faculty, staff, and students, in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), has helped produce the NIJ Research Report Fire and Arson Scene Evidence: A Guide for Public Safety Personnel. More than 150 graduates of UCFÕs 25-year-old program in forensic science are now working in crime laboratories across the country. Our program enjoys an ongoing partnership with NIJ to increase knowledge and awareness of fire and explosion scene investigation. We anticipate that this type of mutually beneficial partnership between the university, the criminal justice system, and private industry will become even more prevalent in the future. As the authors of the Guide indicate, the field of fire and explosion investigation lacks nationally coordinated investigative protocols. NCFS recognizes the need for this coordination. The Center maintains and updates its training criteria and tools so that it may serve as a national resource for public safety personnel who may encounter a fire or explo- sion scene in the line of duty. I encourage interested and concerned public safety personnel to use Fire and Arson Scene Evidence: A Guide for Public Safety Personnel . The procedures recommended in the Guide can help to ensure that moreinvestigations are successfully concluded through the proper identifica- tion, collection, and examination of all relevant forensic evidence. Dr. John C. Hitt

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viiiJoan K. Alexander Office of the Chief StateÕs Attorney Rocky Hill, Connecticut Carl ChasteenFlorida Division of State FireMarshal Havana, Florida Richard L.P. Custer Custer Powell, Inc. Westborough, Massachusetts John D. DeHaan, Ph.D.* Fire-Ex Forensics, Inc. Vallejo, California Brian M. Dixon*Centre of Forensic Sciences Toronto, Ontario, Canada Ronald L. Kelly* Federal Bureau ofInvestigation Washington, D.C. John J. Lentini Applied Technical Services, Inc. Marietta, Georgia Frank MalterBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and FirearmsFayetteville, North Carolina Thomas E. MinnichU.S. Fire Administration Emmitsburg, Maryland Anthony D. Putorti National Institute of Standardsand Technology Gaithersburg, Maryland Dennis W. Smith* Kodiak Enterprises Fort Wayne, Indiana Philip R. Antoci New York City Police LaboratoryJamaica, New York Andrew T. Armstrong, Ph.D., FABC, CPC Armstrong Forensic Laboratory, Inc. Arlington, Texas Russell K. ChandlerVirginia Fire Marshal AcademyRichmond, Virginia James B. Crippin Colorado Bureau ofInvestigation Pueblo, ColoradoLynne DeMent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and FirearmsWashington, D.C. Dirk D. Erickson Mississippi Crime LaboratoryJackson, MississippiJohn F. Goetz Royal Insurance Company Yardley, Pennsylvania Terry-Dawn Hewitt McKenna Hewitt Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Steven Hill U.S. Fire Administration Emmitsburg, Maryland Mary R. HoltAlabama Department ofForensic Sciences Birmingham, Alabama David J. Icove, Ph.D., P.E. U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority PoliceKnoxville, Tennessee Christopher E. Jones Binax/NEL Waterville, Maine Carter K. LordNational Institute of Standardsand Technology Gaithersburg, Maryland Kevin L. Lothridge National Forensic Science Technology Center St. Petersburg, Florida Tommy K. Martin Illinois State Police Springfield, Illinois Ron McCardleFlorida Division of State FireMarshal Tallahassee, Florida Cpl. Michael OÕDayPennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Section Harrisburg, Pennsylvania David M. Smith Associated Fire Consultants, Inc.Tucson, Arizona Valerie Turner State Fire MarshalÕs Office Texas Department of InsuranceAustin, Texas Carrie M. Whitcomb National Center for Forensic ScienceOrlando, Florida* These individuals served as editors during the documentdevelopment process. National Fire/Arson Scene Planning Panel of TWGFASI TWGFASI Members

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ixPrefaceIt is the intention of this Guide to acquaint a broad spectrum of publicsafety personnel with the fire investigation process, so they may understand their role in this important task and help identify, locate, and preserve evidence in its varied forms, to either assist a specialist investiga- tor when one is needed or to adequately document and collect evidence when no assistance is needed or available. This Guide focuses on thedocumentation and collection of physical evidence at fire/arson scenes. Other issues of investigationÑsuch as insurance inquiries, background information, fire deaths, the interpretation of fire dynamics and physical evidence, and case analysis and profilingÑare not addressed in this document.Not every portion of this document may be applicable to all fires. It is at the discretion of responding personnel (depending on their responsibilities, as well as the purpose and scope of their duties) to apply the procedures recommended in this Guide to a particular incident. Some of the proce-dures described in this Guide may not be performed in the sequencedescribed or may be performed simultaneously.

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xiAcknowledgmentsThe National Institute of Justice (NIJ) wishes to thank the membersof the Technical Working Group on Fire/Arson Scene Investigation (TWGFASI) for their extensive efforts on this project and their dedica- tion to improving the procedures for fire/arson scene investigation. Each of the 31 experts gave their time and expertise to draft and review this Guide, providing feedback and perspective from a variety of disciplines and from many areas of the Nation. The true strength of this Guide isderived from their commitment to produce procedures that could be implemented across the country, from rural townships to large cities. Inaddition, thanks are extended to the agencies and organizations that TWGFASI members represent for their flexibility and support, which enabled the participants to see this project to completion.NIJ is immensely grateful to the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS) at the University of Central Florida, particularly Director Carrie Whitcomb and Project Coordinator Joan Jarvis, for its coordination of the TWGFASI effort. NCFSÕs support in planning and hosting the Technical Working Group meetings, as well as the support of the staff in developing the Guide, made this work possible. NIJ is grateful to the individuals from various national organizations whoresponded to the request for nominations of experts in the field of fire/arson scene investigation. TWGFASI members were selected from their recommendations. In particular, thanks go to the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, the National District Attorneys Associa- tion, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and the Inter- national Association ofBomb Technicians and Investigators. Addition- ally, thanks are extended to the individuals, agencies, and organizations across the country that participated in the review of this Guide andprovided valuable comments and input. While all review comments

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xiiwere given careful consideration by TWGFASI in developing the final document, the review by these organizations is not intended to imply their endorsement of the Guide.NIJ would like to thank the co-manager for this project, Kathleen Higgins, for her advice and significant contributions to the development of the Guide.Special thanks go to former NIJ Director Jeremy Travis for his support and guidance and to Lisa Forman, Lisa Kaas, and Anjali Swienton for their contributions to the Technical Working Group program. Thanks also go to Rita Premo of Aspen Systems Corporation, for her tirelesswork editing and re-editing the various drafts of the Guide.Finally, NIJ would like to acknowledge Attorney General Janet Reno, whose support and commitment to the improvement of the criminal justice system made this work possible.

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