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“Computer Graphics and Evidence Presentation” Abstract In the UK forensic animations are becoming an increasingly important visual aid in courtroom situations, where complex data relating to a sequence of events is being visualised before a general public who may have little or no understanding of established forensic procedure or methodology. This paper will introduce and discuss a spectrum of new technologies that utilise new developments in Computer Graphics (CG) and Virtual Reality (VR) for a range of incident investigation and presentation scenarios.

Abstract

In the UK forensic animations are becoming an increasingly important visual aid in courtroom situations,where complex data relating to a sequence of events is being visualized before a general public who may have little or no understanding of established forensic procedure or methodology. This paper will introduce and discuss a spectrum of new technologies that use new developments in Computer Graphics (CG) and Virtual Reality (VR) for a range of incident investigation and presentation scenarios.

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The detection of adulteration of fuels and its use in criminal scenes like arson has a high interest in forensic investigations. In this work, a method based on gas chromatography (GC) and neural networks (NN) has been developed and applied to the identification and discrimination of brands of fuels such as gasoline and diesel without the necessity to determine the composition of the samples. The study included five main brands of fuels from Spain, collected from fifteen different local petrol stations. The methodology allowed the identification of the gasoline and diesel brands with a high accuracy close to 100%, without any false positives or false negatives. A success rate of three blind samples was obtained as 73.3%, 80%, and 100%, respectively. The results obtained demonstrate the potential of this methodology to help in resolving criminal situations.

Research Article

The detection of adulteration of fuels and its use in criminal scenes like arson has a high interest in forensic investigations. In thiswork, a method based on gas chromatography (GC) and neural networks (NN) has been developed and applied to the identification and discrimination of brands of fuels such as gasoline and diesel without the necessity to determine the composition of the samples.The study included five main brands of fuels from Spain, collected from fifteen different local petrol stations. The methodology allowed the identification of the gasoline and diesel brands with a high accuracy close to 100%, without any false positives or false negatives. A success rate of three blind samples was obtained as 73.3%, 80%, and 100%, respectively. The results obtained demonstrate the potential of this methodology to help in resolving criminal situations.

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Abstract

Free-burning experimental fires were conducted in a wind tunnel to explore the role of ignition type and thus fire spread mode on the resulting emissions profile from combustion of fine (< 6 mm in diameter) Eucalyptus litter fuels. Fires were burnt spreading with the wind (heading fire), perpendicular to the wind (flanking fire) and against the wind (backing fire). Greenhouse gas compounds (i.e. CO2, CH4 and N2O) and CO were quantified using off-axis integratedcavity-output spectroscopy. Emissions factors calculated using a carbon mass balance technique (along with statistical testing) showed that most of the carbon was emitted as CO2, with heading fires emitting 17 % more CO2 than flanking and 9.5 % more CO2 than backing fires, and about twice as much CO as flanking and backing fires. Heading fires had less than half as much carbon remaining in combustion residues. Statistically significant differences in CH4 and N2O emissions factors were not found with respect to fire spread mode. Emissions factors calculated per unit of dry fuel consumed showed that combustion phase (i.e. flaming or smouldering) had a statistically significant impact, with CO and N2O emissions increasing during smouldering combustion and CO2 emissions decreasing. Findings on the equivalence of different emissions factor reporting methods are discussed along with the impact of our results for emissions accounting and potential sampling biases associated with our work. The primary implication of this study is that prescribed fire practices could be modified to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from forests by judicial use of ignition methods to induce flanking and backing fires over heading fires.

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INTRODUCTION This report describes new full-scale compartment fire experiments, which include local measurements of temperature, heat flux and species composition, and global measurements of heat release rate and mass burning rate. The measurements are unique to the compartment fire literature. By design, the experiments provided a comprehensive and quantitative assessment of major and minor carbonaceous gaseous species and soot at two locations in the upper layer of fire in a full scale ISO 9705 room [1]. Fire protection engineers, fire researchers, regulatory authorities, fire service and law enforcement personnel use fire models (such as the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator, FDS[2]) for design and analysis of fire safety features in buildings and for post-fire reconstruction and forensic applications. Fire field models have historically showed limited ability to accurately and reliably predict the thermal conditions and chemical species in underventilated compartment fires. Formal validation efforts have shown that for well ventilated compartment fires, with the exception perhaps of soot, field models do quite well in predicting temperature and species when experimental uncertainty is accounted for. Inaccurate predictions of incomplete burning and soot levels impact calculations of radiative heat transfer, burning rates, and estimates of human tenability. High-quality (relatively low, quantified uncertainty) measurements of fire gas species, temperature, and soot from the interior of underventilated compartment fires are needed to guide the development and validation of improved fire field models.

Introduction

This report describes new full-scale compartment fire experiments, which include localmeasurements of temperature, heat flux and species composition, and global measurements ofheat release rate and mass burning rate. The measurements are unique to the compartment fireliterature. By design, the experiments provided a comprehensive and quantitative assessment ofmajor and minor carbonaceous gaseous species and soot at two locations in the upper layer offire in a full scale ISO 9705 room [1].

Fire protection engineers, fire researchers, regulatory authorities, fire service and lawenforcement personnel use fire models (such as the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator, FDS[2]) fordesign and analysis of fire safety features in buildings and for post-fire reconstruction andforensic applications. Fire field models have historically showed limited ability to accuratelyand reliably predict the thermal conditions and chemical species in underventilated compartmentfires. Formal validation efforts have shown that for well ventilated compartment fires, with theexception perhaps of soot, field models do quite well in predicting temperature and species whenexperimental uncertainty is accounted for. Inaccurate predictions of incomplete burning and sootlevels impact calculations of radiative heat transfer, burning rates, and estimates of humantenability. High-quality (relatively low, quantified uncertainty) measurements of fire gasspecies, temperature, and soot from the interior of underventilated compartment fires are neededto guide the development and validation of improved fire field models.

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From Out of the Abyss...

This week’s article from the past is titled Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted and was written by Benjamin Horton, CPCU, who was President of the National Adjuster Traing School in Louisville, Kentucky..  It is taken from the Decembe 1968 Vol. XVI No.5 issue.

Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted 

ABSTRACT The open kitchen design in small residential units where fire load density and occupant load are very high introduces additional fire risk. One big concern is that whether flash-over can occur which may trigger a big post flashover fire, resulting in severe casualties and big property damage. It is important to understand and predict the critical conditions for flashover in this kind of units. Based on a two-layer zone model, the probability of flashover is investigated by a nonlinear dynamical model. The temperature of the smoke layer is taken as the only state variable and the evolution equation is developed in the form of a simplified energy balance equation for the hot smoke layer. Flashover is considered to occur at bifurcation points. Then the influence of the floor dimensions and the radiation feedback coefficient on flashover conditions is examined. When the dimensions of the floor vary, the resulting changes in internal surface area or size of floor area both have effect on the flashover conditions. When the radiation feedback coefficient is of small value, there is no possibility of flashover. With the increase of the radiation feedback coefficient, at first it significantly affects the conditions for flashover and then moderately when it reaches a larger value. It is proved that the flashover phenomenon can be demonstrated well by nonlinear dynamical system and it helps to understand the effect of various control parameters.

Abstract

The open kitchen design in small residential units where fire load density and occupant load are very high introduces additional fire risk. One big concern is that whether flash-over can occur which may trigger a big post flashover fire, resulting in severe casualties and big property damage. It is important to understand and predict the critical conditions for flashover in this kind of units. Based on a two-layer zone model, the probability of flashover is investigated by a nonlinear dynamical model. The temperature of the smoke layer is taken as the only state variable and the evolution equation is developed in the form of a simplified energy balance equation for the hot smoke layer. Flashover is considered to occur at bifurcation points. Then the influence of the floor dimensions and the radiation feedback coefficient on flashover conditions is examined. When the dimensions of the floor vary, the resulting changes in internal surface area or size of floor area both have effect on the flashover conditions. When the radiation feedback coefficient is of small value, there is no possibility of flashover.  With the increase of the radiation feedback coefficient, at first it significantly affects the conditions for flashover and then moderately when it reaches a larger value. It is proved that the flashover phenomenon can be demonstrated well by nonlinear dynamical system and it helps to understand the effect of various control parameters.

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Press Release - Contra Costa County FPD

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Press Release

Subject: Walnut Creek Man Arrested for Arson
Release Date:April 10th 2012
Contact:
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925-941-3541 Office
925-383-5034 Cell
Vic Massenkoff, Fire Investigator

Late on Friday April 6th, 62 year old Walnut Creek resident Brent Robert Kastroff waskastroff
arrested by Contra Costa County Fire District Investigators and the Walnut Creek Police Department at his home in the community of Rossmoor.

In January of this year, Fire Investigators received information about a small fire that occurred on private property on Vista Del Valle in Lafayette. The property is a large parcel that contains 3 homes, but the majority of the 90 acres is grass covered land that even when maintained can still pose a wildfire threat to nearby homes and residents due to it’s size and topography. The investigation lead to the discovery of a previously unreported fire in May of 2011 in the same area; however there were no leads in either incident.

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Press Release

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District
Press Release

Subject:        Serial Arsonist Arrest
 Pittsburg, Antioch, and Bay Point areas
Release Date:  December 21, 2011

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Investigators, assisted by the Pittsburg Police Department, arrested arson suspect, Thomas Hartman, 53 years old, from Pittsburg late Thursday afternoon December 15, 2011 after a Superior Court Judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

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Investigation Nabs Suspects in Car Fire That Seriously Injured LAFD Captain

The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to announce the arrest of Maria Porras, 35 and Rigoberto Diaz, 37 both of Los Angeles, in conjunction with an auto-insurance fraud scheme involving an auto fire which occurred near Elysian Park in January 2011.

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Citronella Candle Hazard

Members and Friends

As you all are aware, we at CCAI want you to be informed. Therefore, I will relate to you an incident that happened in Irvine, CA.

A young school teacher was living in an upscale three story apartment complex on the second floor. The apartment had one bathroom, one bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen area off the living room. The ceiling above the kitchen was at 7 feet while the rest of the apartment was standard height of 8 feet. The apartment has fire sprinklers and one sprinkler is located above the kitchen counter and would reflect water onto the range and counter top if activated.

For some reason the school teacher was burning a Citronella candle on the counter top adjacent to the sink. The candle she purchased was in a small metal bucket with a hoop handle; the candle was not confined in glass. The teacher was washing dishes in the sink when her cat jumped onto the counter top and knocked over the bucket containing the candle. She reacted and reached for the toppled candle with both hands. In one hand she had a glass that she was washing, which contained an amount of water. Some of the water went into the bucket with the candle. A flame came out of the bucket and caused the sprinkler to activate. The water from the sprinkler also got into the bucket and there was an explosion. This entire event happened in a matter of seconds. 

The thought of a candle exploding was a mystery to me and investigator partner, Harry Hatch. We checked several stores trying to purchase the same type of candle the school teacher had described, but no luck. We wanted to see just what the candle would do and also prove or disprove the event.

After looking up Citronella candle fires on the net, we were very surprised to learn that yes, if you add water to a burning Citronella candle it will flare up and sometimes cause an explosion. We all learn something all the time. Be informed and go to yahoo, type in Citronella candle fires and have a look at the videos; you may be as surprised as we were.

Do not be afraid to write us with your hints or new investigation experiences. CCAI is in the business to keep you up to date and informed.

Be Careful Out There
Brad Hamil
Past President
2010

Menifee Man Arrested on Arson Charges

On the evening of Monday, September 5, 2011 at 5:13 p.m., CAL FIRE/Riverside County Firefighters responded to the report of a structure fire at 32870 Sussex States St. in Menifee.

The first arriving engine company found a two-story residence with smoke showing. The fire was contained to the first floor and firefighters remained at the scene several hours for overhaul. One adult female was transported to a local hospital via ground ambulance for smoke inhalation and was displaced from the home due to extensive fire damage.

CAL FIRE Investigators detained and arrested 45-year-old Edwin Monsen at the scene. Edwin was transported to the Detention Center, where he was charged with Arson (PC 451 (b)), Spousal Abuse (PC 273.5) and killing an animal (PC 597).

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office is handling the case. For more information please contact Senior Public Information Specialist John Hall at 951-955-8662.



Author:CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Dept. Press Release

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