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Fire Forensics: Claims, Evidence and Reasoning


There’s been a fire. Your job is to figure out where the fire started, and how.

Fire investigation is a complex job that involves science, technology, engineering, and math to understand the story of how a fire originated. Fire investigators first enter the story on the last page, seeing only the end result – charred walls and debris. How do fire investigators find evidence among this debris that helps them formulate a claim about the way the fire started or where it started? Knowledge of fire science!

UL Research Institute’s Fire Safety Research Institute conducts research on fire dynamics and offers training to help fire investigators solve their cases. Investigators need to know the basic science of fire — how it behaves and the evidence it leaves left behind — and then apply that knowledge to solve the case.

  • What evidence do you notice in the fire scene?
  • What do you wonder about the home, scene or contents of the room?
  • Can you make initial claims about what started the fire?

As you make your way through the virtual fire investigator academy, pay close attention to how fire behaves, and the clues it leaves behind. That knowledge will help you answer your initial questions and solve the case.