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Lecture

Death Investigations in a Fatal Fire Setting and the Role of the Fire Marshal.docx


Department
Forensic Science
Course Code
FSC239Y5
Professor
Wade Knaap

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Death Investigations in a Fatal Fire Setting and the Role of the Fire Marshal
Fatal Fires
Linkage between the fire and death investigations
Prejudging the fire and the death as accidental and treating the scene
accordingly is a major problem.
Fire can be accidental, incendiary or undetermined.
The death can be accidental, natural, suicidal, or homicidal.
The responsibility of the investigative team is to determine the cause of both
and the LINK between the two.
Premature removal of the body
“Once the fire is under control and unable to inflict further damage to the body,
there is nothing to gained and much to be lost in the way of burn pattern analysis,
body fragments, projectiles, clothing and trace evidence by the undocumented and
hurried removal of the remains.” – Dehaan 2004.
Pathologist
Pathologists are not trained in fire investigation. Their job is to determine the
cause of death. To assist the pathologist, deliver as much of the victim as possible
to the autopsy.
Fire Protection and Prevention Act
Provincial Statute.
(2) It is the duty of the Fire Marshal
(a) To investigate the cause, origin and circumstances of any fire or of any
explosion or condition that in the opinion of the Fire Marshal might have
caused a fire, explosion, and loss of life or damage to property.
Scientific Method
3.3.35 Deductive Reasoning
“Conclusions are drawn by logical inference”
4.3.6 Test Hypothesis
Survive careful and serious challenge.
Testing may be cognitive or experimental
Hypothesis must survive or fire is undetermined.
18.6.1
The use of the scientific method means the hypothesis must survive
reasonable examination by the investigator testing the hypothesis or by the
examination of others.
FPPA Section 14
14.(1) The Fire marshal or a fire chief may, without a warrant, enter on land or
premises if,
(a) a fire has occurred on the land or premises
(b) he/she has reason to believe that a substance or device that is likely to
cause a fire may be situated on the land or premises.
Fire Protection and Prevention Act
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