DEATHS FROM FIRES and burns are ranked as the third leading cause of fatal home injury, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In 2010, there were 2,640 fire-related deaths, not including fire fighter who died in the line of duty. Those deaths equal, on average, a fire-related fatality in the United States every 169 minutes.
Fire fatalities present their own unique challenges to the scene investigator. This article will explore various scene considerations, evidence collection, and a proper body examination for the medicolegal death investigator.
When a fire department responds to an active fire, their immediate concerns are to save life and property. In their attempts to mitigate the situation, the arriving fire crews may move objects or open the doors and windows. It goes without saying that the scene investigator will be dealing with an altered scene regardless of the circumstances. In order to perform a proper scene investigation, there are a a few best practices to be considered.