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Donahue, Michael L. and Campbell, Colin A. Investigation of Motor Vehicle Fires. Firehouse. August, 1990. pp. 58-60.

Abstract: This is Part One of a two-part article. Part Two appears in the November, 1990 issue of Firehouse.

The National Auto Theft Bureau has conducted several tests to determine the combustibility of different materials found in cars. The NATB simulated the most common vehicle fires reported by owners. The results found that an accidental automobile fire is rare in a properly functioning vehicle. Accidental fires are slow burning and are usually extinguished before the entire car is burned. This results in localized damage. Most arsonists use an accelerant, which will ignite the entire vehicle. The vehicle will usually burn evenly from front to back in a shorter amount of time. This article provides a list of the different items tested and how much damage would result from each type of fire.

The article also provides a list of outside variables that could indicate arson. The list includes: the time and place of the fire, the insurance coverage of the vehicle, and the financial situation of the owner.

For more information, contact:
Firehouse
PTN Publishing Corporation
445 Broad Hollow Road, Ste 21
Melville, NY 11747
Phone: (516) 845-2700

 
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