Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquid Fuel Fires

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence recently released a report that describes research by engineering and consulting firm JENSEN HUGHES, Inc., led by Dr. Daniel Gottuk, that aimed to advance the forensic analysis of ignitable liquid fuel fires.


The report states: "In the United States, municipal fire departments respond to an estimated 160,000 fires per year that are ignited by flammable or combustible liquid... Investigating fires with 'liquid fuel' is particularly challenging, as the combustion of building materials often conceals the presence of the fuel. More comprehensive insights into the burning dynamics of these types of fires will help fire scene investigators determine if accelerant was used to start the fire."

Through the research, funded by a National Institute of Justice award, Dr. Gottuk "developed a reliable and accurate method of obtaining calcination depth surveys with a portable, handheld measuring tool developed for improved fire pattern analysis," says the report. "The study also evaluated the presence of ILR (ignitable liquid residue) to identify optimum sampling locations within a given scenario."

You can read the full report here.

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Forensic Podiatry (Part Two of Two)

THE DISCIPLINE of forensic podiatry—or, in other words, the examination of pedal evidence—has progressed significantly over the past ten years. It is no longer a question of “What can you do with a footprint?” but rather, “Who can we use to evaluate the footprint?” Cases involving pedal evidence, especially bloody footprints and issues of determining shoe sizing or fit issues compared to questioned footwear, have become more common over the past two or three years.