FIR 4311 CSU Arson Investigation Fire Prevention & Code Enforcement Discussion

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fir 4311

Columbia Southern University



For this assignment, you will write an essay describing the arson investigation process. You should tie it to the importance of suppression personnel (i.e. fire captain, fire engineer, and firefighters), understanding their role as first responders on a scene.

In your essay, also include the following.

  • Explain the arson investigation process.
  • Explain the professional certification and training requirements for fire investigators.
  • Explain how fire tests and fire-rated materials assist in investigations.
  • Discuss fire suppression systems importance to arson.
  • Explain model fire marshal law and its connection to fire investigation.

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UNIT VII STUDY GUIDE Fire Prevention Investigation Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VII Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to: 5. Discuss a comprehensive overview of the general fire safety provisions for occupied buildings. 5.1 Explain Model Fire Marshal Law and its connection to fire investigation. 6. Explain the rationale for general fire safety provisions as methods of fire protection. 6.1 Explain a fire investigation. 6.2 Explain the professional certification and training requirements for fire investigators. 9. Discuss the operational procedures for the construction of fire suppression systems. 9.1 Discuss fire suppression systems’ importance to fire investigation. Course/Unit Learning Outcomes 5.1, 6.2 6.1, 9.1 Learning Activity Unit Lesson Chapter 10 Unit VII Essay Unit Lesson Chapter 11 Unit VII Essay Required Unit Resources Chapter 10: Fire Prevention Responsibilities of the Public Sector Chapter 11: Fire Prevention Through Arson Suppression Unit Lesson Introduction As this course has progressively discussed the fire prevention division and what it does to reduce the risk of fire in our communities through public education, inspections, code enforcement, and plans review, this unit will now focus on what happens after a fire. Fire prevention responsibilities are all geared toward what fire marshals and inspectors do before the event. The reality is that people make mistakes and accidents happen that start conflagrations; sometimes these tragic events are even started intentionally and require a thorough investigation as to how the fire started and who or what is responsible. In simple terms, we want to find out who, what, where, when, and why. Depending on the nature and size of the incident, the cause and origin of the fire may be investigated and determined by trained and qualified company officers on the scene. Where there is a death, suspected arson, suspicion of wrongdoing, or a large event outside of the scope and capabilities of the officers on the scene, a fire marshal or fire investigator may be needed to conduct the investigation in a systematic way to determine the case and if there are criminal implications. Depending on the jurisdiction and organization, the way in which one investigates fires can vary. In most organizations, the fire investigations are conducted by trained and certified members of the fire prevention division and can be done by a specific investigator or be a duty of the fire marshal or fire inspector. Some organizations also use paid on-call consultants to either conduct or assist in their fire investigations or use the FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement 1 state fire marshal’s office for assistance. One unique way is to utilize partnerships yourGUIDE region to UNITacross x STUDY assist. Title In California’s Central Valley, many of the fire departments in the area, metro and rural, participate in a regional Fire Investigator Strike Team (FIST) concept. With this concept, each department in the area donates a certain amount to the team annually. Each member of the FIST maintains a list of available investigators that are on call and available for use if an agency has a need for a fire investigator. If needed, the agency with the incident will notify the communications center and they send a FIST activation request. The first person or agency to respond is assigned and responds to the incident to help the requesting agency. Arson The crime of arson is a national problem in the United States. Here are some statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2010. • • • • • • 15,475 law enforcement agencies provided 1-12 months of arson data and reported 56,825 arsons. Of the participating agencies, 14,747 provided expanded offense data regarding 48,619 arsons. Arsons involving structures (e.g., residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 45.5% of the total number of arson offenses. Mobile property was involved in 26.0% of arsons, and other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 28.5% of reported arsons. The average dollar loss due to arson was $17,612. Arsons of industrial/manufacturing structures resulted in the highest average dollar losses (an average of $133,717 per arson). Arson offenses decreased 7.6% in 2010 when compared with arson data reported in 2009. Nationwide, there were 19.6 arson offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants. In addition to the statistics, arson has other social and economic effects that dramatically impact the communities you serve that do not show on the data sheets. While there is already significant fire loss in the data that is reported, some other factors that affect our communities range from insurance rates increasing, work stoppage of the affected business possibly reducing employment in the area and income for the city. The loss of inventory for a business can affect its ability to recover, and there may often be disability and medical costs from injury or death resulting from the incident. Professional Standards The National Fire Protection Association sets professional standards for fire investigators as well as peace officer standards curriculum, such as PC 832, respectively. There are various agencies that are nationally accredited through IFSAC and Pro Board to deliver training that meets or exceeds these professional qualification standards. State certification boards are accredited by the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications (NBFSPQ) (Pro Board, 2019). It also accredits any certifying NFPA standard agencies (Pro Board, 2019). The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress also accredits state programs. Certification at each level is earned when individuals successfully complete certain job performance objectives. Typically, fire investigator certification is determined by the jurisdiction and level of involvement. For example, certification for California State Fire Marshal Fire Investigator 1A is 40 hours and provides information on securing the fire scene and determining the origin and cause of the fire. The class may include the responsibilities of a fire investigators, how to secure the fireground for investigations, conducting inner and outer surveys, conducting interior inspections, determining fire patterns, examining fire debris, reconstructing the area of origin and more. Fire Investigator 1B is 33 hours and provides information for gathering on-scene documentation and evidence collection/preservation. Topics include photographing the scene, diagramming the scene, constructing investigative notes, processing evidence, establishing chain of custody, processing victims and fatalities, selecting evidence for analysis, maintaining a chain of custody, preparing a fire investigation report, and disposing of evidence. Fire Investigator 1C is 40 hours and provides information on legal considerations for a court proceeding. Topics include coordinating expert resources, formulating an opinion, presenting FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement 2 investigative findings, and testifying during legal proceedings (CSFM, 2019). The 2014 editionGUIDE of NFPA 1033 UNIT x STUDY Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator is the basis for these Titlecourses. These standards of professional qualifications are generally tied to job performance requirements that have been identified as those needed to be proficient in to meet a national minimal standard. Many states have state training programs, a state fire marshal’s office, certification tracks that prepare people to conduct fire investigation competencies such as investigation, evidence collection, and legal proceedings, etc. After employees go through the training, some states offer certification or credentials that verify the individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform that function. Depending on the position, there may be multiple certification tracks or certifications that someone may need to achieve to be competent as a fire investigator. For example, the certification track for an aspiring fire Investigator may include IFSAC or Pro Board certification in various fire investigation training, as well as Law Enforcement investigations training. Of course, each state may vary their requirements but this is an example of the multiple certifications that would be needed to be minimally certified to be a fire investigator. Additionally, many states have task books that must be completed that document real-world experience and time performing the duties before being qualified to perform the job function. Typical Certification for Fire Investigator (CA) Legal Framework Since fire investigations can result in possible criminal implications, fire investigators must understand the applicable laws in guiding fire investigations, and the protections afforded to citizens. Investigators must abide by certain legal criteria when conducting investigations that must include process and procedures from the initiation of the investigation to court proceedings. The Bill of Rights must be adhered to at all times, and one that specifically come up in fire investigation is Amendment IV to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment protects the right of citizens to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, and that warrants may only be issued if there is a probable cause. Having said that, fire investigators can legally conduct a search during the cause and origin investigation. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 established minimum constitutional requirements in Michigan v. Tyler (1978) that requires a warrant after a reasonable time for investigation. Some of the gray areas that can exist, but are available for the fire investigator in the field in regard to post fire searches that do not require a warrant include the following: • • • situations where emergency conditions still exist (does not have to be the active firefight; it can also include times when a fire investigator and engine company remain on the scene in case of rekindle and significant overhaul); abandonment; or consent by the owner/occupant. Remember that you still have to be able to prove the emergency conditions still exist. If there is no longer an emergency then there must be another probable cause. In one example, a fire investigator was on the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire and identified that there may be suspicious factors involved. The fire investigator left the scene, leaving an engine company behind for overhaul. After multiple hours went by, the investigator went back to collect evidence. When the case went to court, it was determined that that evidence was not admissible because there was not probable cause. An emergency condition did not exist that long after the fire to warrant the search. If an organization is looking to take the lead on conducting fire investigations, it is critical that those investigators have the proper training in the laws applicable to them during the investigative process. The Investigation Depending on the state or jurisdiction, it is the responsibility of law enforcement or the fire department, or a combination of the two for fire investigations. According to Love and Robertson (2015), many jurisdictions FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement 3 give this responsibility almost solely to the fire department but in any case, fireUNIT investigation x STUDYresponsibilities GUIDE are generally carried out in one of three ways. Title • • • Full investigative authority is solely on the fire department. In this case the entire process, including cause and origin determination, investigation, and arrest powers are conducted by fire investigators. Full investigative authority is solely on law enforcement. In this case, the entire process including cause and origin determination, investigation, and arrest powers are conducted by police investigators. The responsibility is split, with fire service personnel being responsible for cause determination, followed by police investigation responsible for arrest. In some communities, a team concept is employed. In others, fire service personnel merely notify the police when arson is suspected. The fire investigation process is a systematic and scientific process that is intended to conduct seven key activities to determine the cause of a fire, reduce the frequency of future fires, and bring people who intentionally set fires to justice. NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations provide the framework for fire investigations. Since this is not a fire investigations class, this unit will not get into great detail on fire investigation, but provide you a basic understanding of the process. Fire Origin and Cause Reporting In the case of fire investigations, reporting becomes one of the most crucial elements if called to court, pursuing criminal convictions of arsonists, or seeking cost recovery. The ability to conduct investigations in a systematic and scientific way that is documented in detail to successfully recovery funds or convict accused arsonists. The anatomy of a solid report will include the following components: • • • • ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ • Provide a brief overview of what the investigation established including: o Property description o Damage o Injuries o Cause o Status, i.e., suspect(s) at large, investigation ongoing, etc. Investigation Initial observations/actions o Activity or conditions perceived at time of arrival o Actions taken in response to above o Document efforts to secure fire scene integrity Summary of statements o Get statement from occupants or any other people involved in the incident (owners and occupants), and witnesses as well (firefighters, police department, reporting party[s]), suspects, other. Some of the greatest information will be provided by the first in company. o Ensure you document statements and detail information that includes: Sequence of events Establishes description/identity, locations, and modus operandi of suspects and/or suspect vehicles o Must include, but not limited to: Time of occurrence Condition/location of any affected/involved persons/property, prior to and after the event Description of pertinent actions/statements of suspects or other people Any other pertinent information obtained through statements Multiple statements must be clearly described and identified one at a time. Scene Examination o General description of entire property. It is important to note anything out of the ordinary. Some common findings may include abnormal barriers that prevent or delay fire attack, empty flammable liquids containers, no furniture in the property of an otherwise occupied structure, etc. o General construction description of damaged property, note any modifications to traditional construction methods and materials. As discussed in previous units, certain types of construction use fire rated materials as fire stops to limit combustions and the spread of fire. During a fire investigation you may come upon a situation that fire-resistant materials have been removed, damaged, or replaced with non-fire rated materials to aid in the spread of fire. Some examples may include interior fire stops missing, held open fire doors, poke through in fire rated FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement 4 ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ • • • • • ▪ ▪ • ▪ ▪ ▪ • • • ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ separations, the wrong materials being used, piled construction materials, and other changes that UNIT x STUDY GUIDE are not normal to the construction found. Title o Chronological narrative of scene processing o Detailed, systematic, description of area of origin including: The pattern of fire damage. Note the areas of significant damage to least damage to most damage to identify a flow path. The pattern as described above will also help determine the possible cause and origin. Exposures Presence or absence of natural sources Presence or absence of accidental sources Presence or absence of incendiary evidence Remove fire debris and reconstruct the room of origin Identify areas of significant char depth. Char depth can vary based on how fire reacts to various construction materials. Specifically, in the case of char depth, we are referring to the amount of wood in depth and amount of pyrolysis that has occurred under fire. In flooring or sub flooring, just the presence of char can indicate the presence of flammable liquids used and charring of s significant depth with not accelerant may indicate that the fire burnt for some time before being reported. o Confirm fire suppression system conditions and operation o Detailed description of the scene layout and examination such as orientation of the structure such as points of entry/exit, location evidence was found, etc. Conclusion Explanation/reconstruction of the event based on: Scene corroborated information obtained in statements Investigator’s examination Ignition source Material first ignited Event that brought the two together Cause of the fire Natural Accidental Incendiary Undetermined Disposition Summary/status of other action taken toward disposition of case Processing and preservation of evidence Results of area canvas Status of suspects/victims Notification of other parties Disposition of property Related cases (including the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction case number) Follow-up is required Scene examination can be straightforward or very complex. Investigators must be vigilant and aware of anything out of place. In one example, a city was having problems with several strip mall grocery store fires that were each under investigation for possible arson. At the third fire, a fire investigator was surveying the fire damage and patterns on the inside of the store. There was significant fire damage on one side of the store, but the firefighters saved the contents from the other half with little to no smoke or fire damage of the contents. As the fire investigator was surveying the unburned side, they noticed that on one aisle, cans of food had char/burn marks on them. What was odd was that this aisle had no fire damage from the fire. Upon further investigation, it was found that the owners were torching their business and taking all of the ready-to-use food items and contents to fill the next store before they burned it. These cans and other goods were from the previously burned store. Stay aware, and be sure in consecutive fires that are suspicious and similar in nature that you compare findings and research from other enforcement agencies. Summary While this course is focused on inspection and code enforcement, fire investigations play a critical role in the protection of responders and the community you serve. Many times, the results of fire investigations start new FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement 5 public safety initiatives, change inspection process and frequency and influence recommendations for UNIT x STUDY GUIDE changes in the next code cycle. Fire investigation also protects the departmentTitle and the community from financial hardship and increases the safety of occupants and firefighters on the fireground. Fire investigators must have a comprehensive knowledge of the local fire code to potentially identify violations, seek cost recovery, and conduct competent fire investigative processes. References Babrauskas, V. (2004). Wood char depth: Interpretation in fire investigations. International Symposium on Fire Investigation [Symposium]. Fire Service College, Moreton-on-Marsh, United Kingdom. California State Fire Marshal. (2017). Fire investigator certification. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2011). Love, M. T., & Robertson, J. C. (2015). Robertson's introduction to fire prevention (8th ed.). Pearson. Michigan v. Tyler, 36 U.S. 499 (1978). National Fire Protection Association. (2017). Guide for fire and explosion investigations. Pro Board. (n.d.). About us. Suggested Unit Resources In order to access the following resources, click the links below. In this article, Robert Avsec provides a look at the newest tools to help fire investigators conduct investigations with extensive dig outs. Avsec, R. (2014). What’s new in fire investigation tools. FireRescue1. The report below provides a review of a completed fire report. The report includes many of the items discussed in this unit. Review the report as needed to follow up on the basic components discussed in this unit. U.S. Fire Administration. (1989). Power off to hard-wired detector in nine-fatality house fire Peoria, Illinois (April 11, 1989). With supplement on role of smoke detectors in fatal townhouse fire Annapolis, Maryland. (Report 031 Major Fires Investigation Project). FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement 6
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Explanation & Answer

View attached explanation and answer. Let me know if you have any questions.Hi, here is the file. I don't quite get about the reference section being the last page. So to make sure, I uploaded two documents for you to have options. I also uploaded an outline.

Arson Investigation

Basically, arson investigation refers to the analysis of the origin and cause of the firerelated incidents. This systematic process occurs after the fire has been extinguished and the
approach needed to deal with an arson investigation requires an understanding of basic fire
science. Because of the technicality involved in the investigative process, the law enforcement
and/or the fire department become responsible for conducting the investigative process. To
further specify, an arson investigation could be carried out based on one of the three primary
cases. In the case of full investigative authority, the responsibility is solely carried out by the
fire department. Here, the assigned fire investigators carry out the entire process of the arson
investigation (Love & Robertson, 2015). The process includes the determination of the cause
and origin of the fire-related incident, thorough investigation, as well as arrest powers. The full
investigative authority could also be carried out solely by law enforcement. Here, the
mentioned responsibilities above by the fire department are carried out by the law enforcement
itself. A case in which both the fire department and the law enforcement combine
responsibilities for the arson investigation allows a split of tasks to be carried out by both
parties. Here, the employment of a team concept could be utilized, or the notification of a
suspected arson to the police is merely done by the fire service personnel (Love & Robertson,
2015). Since the National Fire Protection Association requires professional certification and
training requirements for the fire investigators, the National Board of Fire Service Professional
Qualification accredits the state certification boards and any certifying NFPA standard
agencies. Moreover, the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress accredits state

Generally, certification is level-based and so individuals who wish to be accredited with
a certain level of certification need to complete the objectives required by that level. ...

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