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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81532 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Investigation of Motor Vehicle Fires - A Guide for Law Enforcement, Fire Department, and Insurance Personnel
Author(s): L S Cole
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 69
Sponsoring Agency: Davis Publishing Co
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: Davis Publishing Co
250 Potrero Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report is intended to aid the fire, insurance, and law enforcement investigator in determining vehicle fire causes, both accidental and deliberate.
Abstract: the investigator must be familiar with parts of the vehicle most often mentioned as being involved in fires: the engine, the fuel system, electrical system, exhaust system. Other vehicle materials that can contribute to or be the cause of a fire hazard are plastics, rubber, paper, cloth, and magnesium. The necessary elements for a fire are oxygen or other oxidizing agents, fuel, and sufficient temperatures to maintain combustion. Investigators must first determine the fire's point of origin by looking for the area of most intense burning and for systems within that area that will support ignition and continued burning. The origins of most fires considered accidental are detailed; the text looks at electrical fires, fuel system fires, automatic transmission and power steering fluid fires, friction fires, tire fires, and fires caused by smoldering material on upholstery and by other materials used in modern vehicles (alluminum alloys, magnesium alloys, safety glass, etc). The text notes that all fires fall into one of three categories: accidental, providential, or incendiary. The motives for incendiary fires and the early stages of investigation of a vehicle fire (determine insurance coverage, inspect the scene of the loss, check the scene for footprints or related signs, inspect the tires, etc.) are outlined. Stages of the investigation during salvage and search of the scene are discussed, and laboratory methods for investigating the debris are mentioned. Factors that give a strong indication of a motive are outlined, and the causes and investigation of explosions are described. Tables illustrating combustible temperatures, sample forms useful during an investigation, and definitions are provided. Thirteen references are included.
Index Term(s): Arson; Arson investigations; Automobiles; Motor vehicle fires
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