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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • fire debris;
  • evidence bag;
  • evidence container;
  • ignitable liquid analysis;
  • fire debris bag;
  • packaging

Abstract:  Fire debris evidence is collected and stored in a wide range of containers, including various polymer bags. Four different polymer bags have been investigated, including the NYLON, DUO, ALU, and AMPAC bags. The latter is the successor of the Kapak Fire DebrisPAK. Microscopy and infrared spectroscopy were used to elucidate the composition of the bags. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to investigate performance parameters such as background volatiles, leak rate, cross-contamination, recovery, and sorption. The NYLON bag was susceptible for leakage and cross-contamination and showed decreased recoveries. The DUO and ALU bags showed some background volatiles, sorption, and poor recoveries. The AMPAC bag performed excellent: low background, no leakage or cross-contamination, good recoveries, and only traces of sorption. Heat sealing proved to be the best method of closure. Preliminary studies on AMPAC bags showed that polyethylene clamps are easy to use on-site and preserve ignitable liquids adequately for a limited period of time.