Kirk's Fire Investigation (5th Edition)

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9780130604583: Kirk's Fire Investigation (5th Edition)

Since the first edition of Kirk's Fire Investigation was published in 1969, it has become one of the most widely read and accepted textbooks in the field of fire investigation. Since this book was first written, fire investigation has changed, as has the knowledge essential for investigators to know. There is improved technology to aid both the field investigator and the laboratory scientist, which makes the application of the scientific method and use of the most current information critical to the process. Written by a forensic scientist with extensive experience in all phases of fire and explosion investigation, this book details all the "need-to-know" skills. Topics are presented in a logical order from simple chemistry and physics to scene analysis to complex case analysis. Special topics such as lab analysis, fire deaths, and explosions are also included. Features Include: *Updated information and most recent literature references throughout. *Expanded coverage of chemistry topics to include plastics, pyrolsis and combustion products, and the new generation of petroleum products.* Expanded discussion of post-flashover patterns of damage, misconceptions and misuse of post-fire indicators, and documentation. *New legal citations. *New information about destruction of bodies in fire and the detection of blood splatter. *Full-color insert of arson photos.

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It is hard to believe that it has now been 20 years since I took over responsibility for what was then Fire Investigation by Dr. Paul Kirk. So many years have passed that a whole new generation of fire investigators are now practicing. So many have asked "Why is it called Kirk's Fire Investigation?" that it is clear they are not aware of Prof. Kirk's contribution to the discipline. Paul L. Kirk was a professor of biochemistry and criminalistics at the University of California at Berkeley, but it was his specialty of microchemistry that focused his attention on physical evidence and its analysis. Prof. Kirk was part of the Manhattan Project (where separation and identification of trace quantities of particular chemicals was a critical step in developing the atomic bomb). After the war, he focused on analytical chemistry as an adjunct to criminal investigation. He was the professor in charge of the criminalistics program at Berkeley until his death in 1970, and launched the careers of many criminalists who now practice around the world. He wrote the landmark text, Crime Investigation, in 1953 and maintained a private criminalistics consulting practice. It was this practice that led to his involvement in fire and arson investigation, where he was consulted in a wide variety of fire and explosion cases. He published Fire Investigation in 1969 as the first textbook on fire investigation written by a scientist rather than a field investigator. It became a standard reference and was still in print some 11 years after his death. In honor of his pioneering work in bringing science to fire investigation, his name is included in the title, and the spirit, of this text.

His concern with using science to solve the puzzles of fire and explosion presaged the current emphasis on using the scientific method to investigate fires by more than 30 years. It is clear that good, knowledgeable investigators have been using that approach for years, even if they were not aware of it.

The last 15 years have seen a dramatic improvement in the frequency and quality of interactions between fire investigators, fire scientists, and engineers involved in fire safety and fire protection. The intuitive extrapolation or interpolation of data to explain fire development has been standard practice among fire investigators and it has been faulty far too often. The integration of the information, knowledge, and experience of fire engineers and those scientists involved in the chemistry and physics of fire development into fire investigation has proceeded along many paths—personal, educational, and professional—and on an international basis. Fire engineers are now involved directly in investigations and also teach investigators how to apply engineering principles. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations has focused the attention of investigators and the legal profession on the scientific principles behind investigation. This author was involved with NFPA 921 from 1990 to 1999, and this edition reflects a closer parallel between practices and information in both sources that can only enhance the accuracy and reliability of all investigations. Thanks to the fire engineers and scientists involved, we have a better understanding of the dynamics of ignition, flame spread, and room fire growth than ever before. This edition contains new material on those critical subjects.

Today's investigators are being held to a higher standard of professional practice than previously. It is no longer adequate to claim expertise based on years of experience alone. A professional must demonstrate that what he or she is doing follows the practices and the knowledge base of the relevant professional community. That knowledge and practice is based on texts such as this one and NFPA 921, which are continuously reviewed and revised to reflect the most current knowledge. The revisions in this edition follow the same path as those for previous ones and include many new photographs and case examples. There is revised material on fire dynamics and electrical fire causation, supported by new color photographs. The text reflects an international information base as offered by fire and explosion investigators, scientists, and engineers from all over the world. It is offered in the hope that it will augment the knowledge of investigators everywhere and help them find the right answers for the right reasons.

J.D. DeHaan, PhD, FABC, FSSDip
July 2001

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DeHaan, John D.
Published by Prentice Hall (2002)
ISBN 10: 0130604585 ISBN 13: 9780130604583
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Book Description Prentice Hall, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110130604585

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