How does investigators figure out the cause of fire of a burned down building?


Seen random news on building fires where they can pin point the cause of the fire somehow even though the building looks so charred and damaged there’s hardly anything left. How are they able to determine what caused the fire?

In: 2

Fire investigators are like detectives, but for fires. They look at clues like where the fire started, the shape of the burn patterns, and any unusual smells.

For example, if an area is more burned than others, the fire may have started there. Or if there’s a V-shape burn on a wall, that might show where the fire spread from. Different materials leave different burn marks too. It’s like how you can tell where someone spilled water by looking at where the carpet is wet. The patterns tell a story of the fire.

hey also interview witnesses and check if any electrical equipment was faulty. Even though a building might look totally charred, these clues can still be found and can help investigators figure out what caused the fire.

I’m a criminal defense attorney. And I’m going to say there’s a large amount of junk science to this. Yes, if you pour a bunch of gasoline around a building and set it on fire, they may be able to find traces of the gas. Sometimes there is chemical residue that can be collected.

But like drug dogs, there’s also a lot of “we have decided that these techniques work, and we have certified ourselves as being experts in this area”. There aren’t really a lot of double blind tests of these techniques by outside groups.