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Fire Scene Investigation: Artificial Intelligence

Fires are destructive, and as they continue to grow, they will consume their evidence. In reference to the Michigan v. Tyler, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that consent to search, or a search warrant, must be obtained to conduct a search for the origin of the fire and cause under circumstances where the investigation is not a continuation of the original entry (Korver et al., 2020). In the underlying case of the Jessen fire break out, the local fire department suppressed it, and authorities identified its cause as arson. Upon an investigator determining the fire’s cause, the search must be ceased and obtain a search consent to search from the property owner or a criminal search warrant. In Joneses’ case, it was not a continuation and hence necessitated a search warrant. This places a boundary line between the origin and caus, search, and a criminal search warrant. If a person declines a search warrant, the scene is secured, and a criminal search warrant is pursued to continue the search.

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After obtaining a search warrant, a plan should be drawn, including arriving at the scene, evaluating the scene, documenting the scene, processing evidence, and completing the investigation. After arriving at the scene, I will direct my staff to secure the crime scene tape area. I will proceed by observing the conditions of the scene and fire to provide an accurate and complete description. In this case, the conditions to be observed will include the presence, location, and condition of witnesses, vehicles leaving the scene, bystanders, or other unusual activity (Korver et al., 2020). Other conditions include the condition of alarms, weather, and unusual characteristics of the scene, such as containers, physical burn, and broken windows.

Exercising scene safety is critical as it overrides other concerns. Fire responders must ensure that all bystanders, victims, and public safety staff are safe. This step will involve mitigating safety hazards which might compromise bystanders, public safety personnel, and victims. To exercise scene safety, fire responders will need to evaluate the scene for safety hazards such as health risks, smoke, electrical, and structural collapse of the building, among other risks (Korver et al., 2020). They must communicate hazards to other personnel arriving at the scene. The investigation will require Some tools to collect evidence, including a broom, bucket, chisel for exaction, gloves, helmet, ballistic vest for safety, and detection equipment for sample collection.

Documenting the scene using either photographing or videotaping the scene or describing it will be necessary for detecting evidence. To photograph or videotape the scene, the investigator should videotape or photograph the assembled crowd and fire responders in the process. All non-essential personnel should be removed from the photograph’s background (Korver et al., 2020). In this case, the broken window and the ignitable liquid-pour patterns were seen on the furniture and wood floor in the living room and the chattered front picture.

To collect, preserve and store the evidence, the investigator should observe precautions to prevent contamination and document the location of evidence. The investigator should collect evidence from any area where the fire originated, including the ignitable liquid-pour patterns. The evidence should be placed in labeled containers to be transported and preserved (Korver et al., 2020). In the underlying cause, the liquid evidence should be taken to the laboratory for identification. Each container should be labeled uniquely, including the investigator’s name, date and time, sample number, case number, and location of recovery.


Korver, S., Schouten, E., Moultos, O. A., Vergeer, P., Grutters, M. M., Peschier, L. J., Vlugt, T.J.H., & Ramdin, M. (2020). Artificial intelligence and thermodynamics help solving arson cases. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-8.

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