Annual arson demonstration at Keele

Investigating arson cases is one of the many possible roles of a Forensic Examiner. At Keele, Arson investigation is included in a final year module, and as part of this module we organise a visit annually from John Caulton, a professional fire investigator.

The demonstration shows how a fire can start in a living room, and how it can spread from an ash tray to the whole room. A ‘room’ is created inside a metal box, with typical furnishings, carpets and curtains, as shown in the photograph:

    Arson Demo  

 

Once the fire starts, it spreads very quickly, as the sequence of photos show:

    Arson Demo Arson Demo Arson Demo Arson Demo  

 

At this stage the whole room is burning, and the fire has to be extinguished by closing the doors of the box (to stop the flow of oxygen), and by dowsing the flames with water. What is left is the burned out remains of the room contents.

    Arson Demo Arson Demo  

 

At this stage it is safe for the forensic examination to commence. The examiners will be looking for traces of liquid accelerants that may have been used to start the fire, and sniffer dogs are used at this stage.                                                     

© Rob Jackson, February 2018

Third year arson practical

This video was taken during a 3rd year arson practical session that was delivered at Keele University as part of the BSc Forensic Science programme.

School address

Lennard-Jones School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Lennard-Jones Building
Keele University
Staffordshire
ST5 5BG, UK
Phone (School Office): +44 (0)1782 733033,
+44 (0)1782 733527
or +44 (0)1782 734225 
Email: chemistry@keele.ac.uk, forensics@keele.ac.uk, physics@keele.ac.uk

Programme directors

Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
Dr Matthew O'Brien
Tel : +44 (0)1782 734371
Email : m.obrien@keele.ac.uk

Forensic Science
Dr Jamie K. Pringle
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733163
Email : j.k.pringle@keele.ac.uk

Physics and Astrophysics
Dr Arumugam Mahendrasingam
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733312
Email : a.mahendrasingam@keele.ac.uk

 

Admission tutors

Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
Dr Natalie Capel
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733584
Email : n.j.capel@keele.ac.uk

Forensic Science
Victoria Cartwright
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733584
Email : v.cartwright@keele.ac.uk

Physics and Astrophysics
Dr Patrick Connell
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733892
Email : physics@keele.ac.uk or p.j.connell@keele.ac.uk