Malcolm, John D. Documenting the Electrical System. International Association
of Arson Investigators. September, 1985.
Abstract: This article provides an in-depth procedure firefighters
and investigators can follow to examine the electrical systems of a fire
scene. The firefighter may be the only person to see the fire scene intact,
before it rekindles or is leveled for safety purposes. A firefighter's documentation
of the fire scene should include an evaluation of the electrical systems.
The electrical systems can be examined without electricity and engineering
expertise. Simple observations will indicate whether experts need to be
called or not. It is important to remember that a malfunction in one part
of the electrical system could cause a fire in another area. The author
strongly urges firefighters to use a 35mm camera to document the scene.
Pictures record the scene and help firefighters and investigators remember
details. A firefighter or investigator should always operate under the assumption
that electrical wires are "alive." Even if the power has been
shut off, do not attempt to disassemble any part of the electrical system.
The procedure this article outlines does not require any touching or dismantling
of the electrical system.
For more information, contact:
International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI)
12770 Boenker Rd
St. Louis, MO 63044
Phone: (314) 739-IAAI (4224)
Fax: (314) 739-4219