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Paul Carolan An Overview of the Firefighters role in Fire & Explosion Investigations.

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Presentation on theme: "Paul Carolan An Overview of the Firefighters role in Fire & Explosion Investigations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Paul Carolan An Overview of the Firefighters role in Fire & Explosion Investigations








9 Fractured glass from window pane found on ground after fire. Note: no smoke stains – “Warning” sign on glass intact and not heat damaged – no curved fractures and all straight-line fractures - conclusion = mechanical damage prior to fire (break-in)

10 Types of Scenes FireExplosion EMSRescue


12 Each of these scenes could be a crime scene and you are the 1 st in!!!! YIKES!

13 First In Firefighters are in a unique position to observe and note conditions and behaviour that maybe of critical importance in the investigative phase

14 Primary role of Dublin Firefighter Save Life Save Property Render Humanitarian Aid All of these carry an intrinsic ‘ rider ’ When safe to do so…………… …..And we endeavour to carry out these roles regardless of the the status of that scene.

15 …..but not regardless of other considerations Why?

16 Because……… Every Scene we attend is potentially a crime scene And in accordance with best international practice we must understand our role as firefighters in relatioin to crime scenes.

17 Fire / Explosion Fire Dept. Garda / Police Forensic Scientist Insurance Industry Legal Profession DPP State Pathologist Coroners Office Legislation PublicPrivate Investigators Loss Adjusters Product Manufacturers

18 So what can the firefighter do? Start thinking ‘outside the box’ From the time of the call Enroute to the scene Arrival at the scene Initial impressions at the scene Persons at the scene what you did at and inside the scene

19 Scenario D D/O Delta ‘ Will you respond to a domestic fire, fully involved, at no. 66 Busy Street, off Malahide rd we have two confimed persons reported from off duty Firefighter. Senior Officer, Gardaí, ESB, Bord Gáis responding’.

20 You are on your way to this scene. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts and mentally prepare. You, your fellow firefighters and the Incident Commander will have a unique opportunity to make observations about the fire because you will see the scene in its most undisturbed state. You also have the responsibility to exercise as much care as possible to preserve physical evidence for later collection. The investigation can be positively or negatively affected by what you do or do not do. Mentally review your firefighting and observation responsibilities.

21 At the Scene prior to entry Information you might be given directly. Information you might overhear. Human behaviour of those you are talking with. How are people speaking with you or to you! Behaviour that you see beside you, see at a distance. Unusual smells prior to donning. Your focus is on your primary roles, that is your job. But always think that the scene you are about to enter could be a crime scene

22 Inside the Scene Route available to you -- Any difficulties with this route Anything suspicious about those difficulties What is the temperature like Where is the fire Can you tell what is on fire What colour is the flame

23 Inside the Scene (continued) How high are the flames What is the colour of the smoke –Is it dense, rate of buoyancy? Heat and intensity in different areas Your observation of the burn, how did the fire behave Problems encountered with the fire fight

24 Inside the Scene (continued) How many seats of fire can you see Can you tell what fuels might be involved Can you identify any ventilation points How does fire seat or hot layer gases react to H 2 O or CAFS

25 Victims Cons or U/Cons Where were they found What position were they in What symptoms did they exhibit What did you do Why

26 What are the implications of your actions? None Why? Do as you are trained to do Do what will be considered reasonable

27 Dr. Brian Farrell Dublin City Coroner Witnesses Identification witness (or forensic evidence in relation to identification) Witnesses who can give evidence in relation to the circumstances of the fire Person who last saw the deceased alive Members of the fire service and rescue teams Scenes examiner Investigating Garda Pathologist

28 Your mental tape the scene. –Observe –(look at everything you can when possible N.B. 3 functions of a FF always come first) –Recognize –(Identify information that will be of use in follow up investigations) –Preserve –( Only move what is necessary, remember what you did and why you did it) –Notify –(Tell your Station Officer / Incident Commander what actions you did or what you saw. –(Remember E.C.O. does not record all information on B.A. Board)

29 So what are investigators looking out for? Information that remains at a scene which will help establish the Fire’s origin and cause: Where did it Start What was the first ignition source that came into contact with the first fuel

30 Summary En RouteAt SceneRoute to exact Point of Entry Route inside ObservationsActions inside NotifyNotify again!

31 PAUL CAROLAN Thank you for your questions and interest. Good luck in your careers

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