List and explain the various clues that flames and smoke can offer the investigator in an arson investigation.

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wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Flames and smoke are probably two of the main things that investigators use to judge an investigation. The color of the flames can indicate many different things like temperature and use of particular accelerants. The direction of the burn patterns left by the flames can also tell a great deal. They can indicate the point of origin, how fast the flames spread, and many other key details. The smoke patterns also indicate different aspects of a fire. Smoke might show us how fast the fire began, how long it was burning, what order the building caught fire in, etc. Investigators use the various signals to gain clues about the fire. Once they have determined the point of origin, the temperature, use of accelerants, and a few other key factors, they can usually determine if the fire was accidental or intentional (ie arson).