Trace Chemistry
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Trace Chemistry

A fire investigation is an unenviable task. The devastation, charred debris, collapsed structures, water soaked ashes, together with the smoke and stench, makes the task uninviting and seemingly impossible. The basic role of an investigator at a fire scene is twofold: 1)  to determine the origin of the fire (the site where the fire began), 2)  to examine closely the site of origin to try and determine what it was that caused a fire to start at or around that location. An examination would typically begin by trying to gain an overall impression of the site and the fire damage; this could be done at ground level or from an elevated position. From this, one might proceed to an examination of the materials present, the fuel load, and the state of the debris at various places.


The analytical work of the I-MCFSA Fire Debris Unit may provide a piece to the puzzle that is determining the origin and cause of a fire. Through careful application of the scientific method, evidence found at the fire scene may provide important information out of the fire debris. Fire is unique in that the first major task is to determine whether a crime has been committed.  The identification of an ignitable liquid residue in samples from a fire scene can support the field investigator’s opinion regarding the origin, fuel load and incendiary nature of the fire. 






The I-MCFSA Blood Alcohol Unit tests for the presence and quantitation of ethanol in blood collected from a DUI suspect. Quantitative evidence and testimony of the blood alcohol content provides valuable evidence of intoxication to substantiate driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.