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Explosive and Fire Accelerants FSCT 8210

Forensic Investigation Course

Course details

The course involves the application of forensic science to the investigation of fires and explosions. It covers the legal framework which governs fire and explosion investigations and encompasses best practices for crime scene investigation for pertinent physical evidence, and its subsequent seizure and transportation to a forensic laboratory. Essential precautions against contamination of evidence are emphasised. Laboratory procedures are described. Case studies and demonstrations of typical physical evidence are used to illustrate the criteria for handling and examination of exhibits, and for selection and application of analytical instruments. The essence of forensic science examinations is the determination of the significance of analytical results, so this aspect of forensic reports and expert testimony is covered in depth, and students are taught best practices throughout. Problems which have arisen in casework from less than optimal practices are described, and the necessity for documentation of all steps in investigations of fires and explosions is strongly emphasized and illustrated.


  • Admission to a Forensic credential program or permission of the Program Coordinator.



Not offered this term
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Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Evaluate trace evidence left after a fire or explosion.
  • Evaluate the relevance of trace evidence in an investigation.
  • Describe the legal framework in which investigations of fires and explosions are conducted.
  • List and describe the issues pertinent to recognition and optimal collection of trace evidence emphasising contamination recognition and prevention.
  • Describe best practices for isolation and examination of forensic evidence from fires and explosions.
  • Discuss the chemical classifications and uses of explosives and of fire accelerants.
  • Outline the basic construction of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and improvised arson devices.
  • Apply the criteria used to acquire relevant analytical instrumentation.
  • Outline the basics of how relevant analytical instruments work.
  • Select instrumentation and methods appropriate to the material being examined (using case study examples).
  • Derive and use data bases to determine the significance of analytical results.
  • Generate work notes and critique a forensic report.

Effective as of Fall 2008

Related Programs

Explosive and Fire Accelerants (FSCT 8210) is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Computing and Academic Studies

  1. Forensic Investigation (Forensic Science Option)
    Advanced Certificate Part-time
  2. Forensic Investigation (Forensic Science Option)
    Bachelor of Technology Part-time


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