skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 148900 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Flashover: An Arson Defense Tool
Journal: Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal  Volume:27  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1994)  Pages:15-18
Author(s): R J Kooren
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Article
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: Flashover, occurring at some but not all fire scenes, results in the autoignition of combustible materials in the room, and several arson cases in the United States have been defended based on the theory that burn patterns and damage indicative of a flammable liquid (accelerant) were in fact caused by flashover conditions.
Abstract: Not all fires develop to the point of flashover. If hot gases are allowed to escape or air is limited, conditions necessary for flashover will not be attained. During a fire, firefighters will intentionally ventilate the room or building to prevent the accumulation of hot gases. They will also introduce water as a fog to cool the gas layer but more importantly to create steam that will displace air in the room. Certain burn pattern characteristics help fire investigators differentiate between natural flashover and an accelerant-fueled fire. Recently, during preparations for an arson/murder trial in the southern United States, test burns produced evidence that flashover conditions could occur without an accelerant and in shorter time spans than originally believed. 4 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Arson investigations; Criminal investigation; Firefighters; Police; Pyrolysis; Science and Technology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.