Scientific Protocols for Fire Investigation

2nd Edition

John J. Lentini, John J. Lentini

CRC Press
Published October 2, 2012
Textbook - 646 Pages - 529 Color Illustrations
ISBN 9781439875988 - CAT# K13531
Series: Protocols in Forensic Science

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Knowledge of the science behind fires is critical to understanding a fire’s cause and successfully presenting that determination to the authorities or in litigation. Now in its second edition, Scientific Protocols for Fire Investigation focuses on the practical application of scientific principles to determine the causes of fires. Uniquely qualified with years of experience in on-site investigations, lab analyses, and courtroom presentation, the author provides a resource that is unparalleled in depth and focus.

The book explores:

  • The history of fire investigation and the basic chemistry and physics of fire
  • The science of fire dynamics—how things burn and how they interact with their surroundings while doing so
  • Practical procedures for conducting fire scene inspections
  • Laboratory examination of fire debris to test for the presence of ignitable liquid residues and for potential ignition sources
  • Relevant scientific principles as applied to 30 actual fires
  • The evolution of the mythology of arson investigation
  • The common root causes of errors in fire investigation

The final chapter discusses the professional practice of fire investigation. It examines quality assurance, business practices, and the fundamentals of being an expert witness, with advice for giving testimony in depositions and at trial. Other highlights of the second edition include new and expanded discussions on novel training methods, first assumptions, computer fire modeling, low voltage ignition sources, the questionable validity of some origin determinations, and recent changes in NFPA 921.

Thorough and accessible, this volume not only provides the practical information necessary to conduct an effective inquiry but also offers insight into the science, history, and theory behind what makes fire investigation a multi-faceted profession.

John Lentini discusses the book in a video on the CRC Press YouTube Channel.


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