Aspects of Firefighting and Arson Investigation
Marilyn Olsen moderated this informative panel. Those participating were:
Rick Wickliffe, Michelle Perin, Robert Haig, Sam Bradley
Bob Haig said he looks back on his career fondly because he met so many wonderful people, though it was a dangerous job, He writes to demonstrate the heart of firefighting.
Rick Wickliffe investigates arson for insurance companies. Most arson fires are set to cover a crime or for revenge.
Michelle Perin said the firefighting culture embraces all different personalities, many heroes.
Sam Bradley said firefighters are people with a lot of heart.
When someone plans an arson fire, they will move all their good stuff out first and substitute with junk.
People have committed suicide by arson.
Unfortunately, while the fire is being fought, many clues are lost.
EMTs also don't have much training on evidence preservation.
Once in awhile a firefighter turns out to be arsonist. (Happens sometimes with volunteer firefighters needing work.)
When investigating a fire for arson look for the motive (financial), the accelerant, and the opportunity.
Gasoline is the least used accelerant.
Undetermined cause might be electrical.
In Florida, a private entity is more apt to investigate a fire.
Statements should be taken right away from anyone who had a connection to the fire.
This was a most interesting panel--with much more discussed than what I wrote in my notes.
Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith