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Keywords:

  • fire investigation;
  • smouldering fire;
  • fire development;
  • crime;
  • numerical modelling

SUMMARY

Based on forensic evidence, a smouldering fire was observed to have occurred at a murder scene. Identification of a reasonable timeline – specifically the fire dynamics of the ignition and fire growth that occurred coincident with the death that took place – became an important focus of the criminal investigation that followed. The fire service was called when a neighbour saw a grey smoke escaping through the ventilation system of the bathrooms on the roof of the house. One flat door with elevated temperatures was found. The fire fighter who entered the flat first reported later that the flat was completely filled with smoke and all windows were closed. When the fire fighter opened the balcony door, he saw flames on the sofa that he extinguished. Then he found a body on the floor. The autopsy showed later that the victim was dead before the fire started. The police suspected that the murderer probably had deliberately set the fire to destroy evidence. One suspect had been witnessed to be in the flat approximately 2 h before the fire was detected by the neighbour. The aim of this project was to investigate how the fire most likely started and developed. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.