Runge, Larry W., et al. Inspection Of Decedent Of Fatal Fire. National
Fire Academy's Arson Investigation course. April, 1982.
Abstract: This is a research paper presented to the National Fire
Academy's Arson Investigation class. The paper discusses specific procedures
fire investigators should follow when investigating fatalities at a fire
scene. The main objective should be fire scene security and evidence preservation.
Photographing the fire scene is especially important so the positions of
the deceased are accurately recorded.
All dead bodies should be handles carefully, so they are not damaged.
The medical examiner needs to examine the body the way it was found. Indicators
that the death was accidental include soot found in the mouth and throat,
foaming at the mouth which suggests carbon monoxide poisoning, and the body
facing away from the point of origin. Indicators that the death was a homicide
include evidence of violence on the body such as mutilation or knife wounds.
In cases of unidentified bodies, a pathologist should be contacted to examine
fingerprints and dental records to identify the victim.
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