How Is Arson Recognized?

Signs that a Fire Was Maliciously Ignited

While fires can – and often do – start somewhat spontaneously, this is not always the case. Arson is the deliberate and malicious act of setting fire to a dwelling or other building attached to a dwelling. The nature of the crime makes the preservation of evidence difficult as the scene is scorched, but it is not impossible. Investigators are trained to look for common characteristics at the scene that suggest the occurrence of a criminal act.

How Arson Investigations Are Conducted

Arson investigations are complicated to conduct. The water, chemical foam, and fire itself will sully potential evidence. As such, arson investigators will rely on the testimonies of the first responders and their notes on the smoke color, fire behavior, and property condition. They will also look for signs of where the fire started and note any other discernible details.

Common Signs of Arson

While much of the evidence will be lost, the investigators will work with what they have to identify whether the fire had criminal origins. Common red flags include:

  • Absence of accidental cause
  • Considerable damage
  • Evidence of forced entry
  • Evident usage of accelerants
  • Firefighter testimony of abnormal actions of the fire
  • Low burning point
  • Missing valuables
  • Multiple points of origin
  • Same people present at unconnected fires
  • Sprinkler systems being tampered with
  • Suspicious behavior by the property owner
  • Unidentifiable point of origin
  • Unusual burn patterns
  • Unusual smoke color

The study is typically spearheaded by retired firefighters, as these professionals have significant knowledge about the standard ways that fires burn.

If you’ve been accused of arson, you need a lawyer who is ready to fight tirelessly to defend you. At Brad Bailey Law, our attorneys have decades of experience successfully helping clients in similar positions. Let us work to do the same for you. Contact us today for a confidential case review: (617) 500-0252.


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