Upcoming Technology Assisting in Arson Investigations

Posted by: on May 1, 2014 | No Comments

When it comes to arson cases, one of the most time consuming processes involved is determining the cause of a deliberately set fire. University of Alberta researcher James Harynuk and Royal Canadian Mounted Police scientist Mark Sandercock are taking steps towards simplifying this process by teaming up to develop a computer program that can sort through the chemical clues left behind by arson. Using gasoline chemical samples from 232 samples drawn from fire debris in cases under investigation in Canada, a filter was developed that isolated the signature of gasoline and was used to determine the presence of gasoline in the debris sample, and thus indicate if it could have been the source, or one of the sources, of the fire. Sandercock stated that “By getting the laboratory results back quickly, investigators can use this information to ask the right questions when interviewing people or evaluating other evidence, which will help them resolve the case more quickly by pointing them in the right direction.” The program has yet to be given a name but is currently in the process of gathering support for commercialization as well as testing on other less common flammable fluids.

Read the full article here.


[Abstract Written by Walter Tates, Forens-IQ Inc. Intern, 050114]

Leave a Reply