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Clarke, Janet C., et al. The Investigation Of Fire Fatalities. National Fire Academy's Arson Investigation Course. May, 1982.

Abstract: This research paper discusses investigation techniques for fire fatalities. A fatality is considered anyone who suffers injuries from a fire and dies within one year from those injuries.

Most fire fatalities did not burn to death, but suffered other injuries such as asphyxiation or carbon monoxide poisoning. The cause of death needs to be determined so the investigator is informed of whether the death occurred before or after the fire. This information will help to establish whether a crime was committed and the fire was intended to hide the crime. Identification of the victims also offers information to the investigator. The article describes the three most common methods pathologists use for victim identification.

Photographing the fire scene is also extremely important. It allows investigators to refer back to the actual scene and provides evidence for admittance in court. The pictures should be taken before anything is disturbed so the complete scene is recorded. Color photography should be used so body positions and degrees of burning can be clearly seen.

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