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12 Buildings Set on Fire for Arson Investigation Training

If you saw a lot of smoke coming from the White City area Monday afternoon, no need to worry. Fire District 3 and the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) were gearing up for a big arson investigation training this week. The organization built 12 rooms to look like offices, bedrooms and living rooms last week to set them on fire Monday.

Posted: Jan 21, 2019 5:53 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2019 11:20 AM

WHITE CITY, Ore. -- If you saw a lot of smoke coming from the White City area Monday afternoon, no need to worry. Fire District 3 and the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) were gearing up for a big arson investigation training this week. The organization built 12 rooms to look like offices, bedrooms and living rooms last week to set them on fire Monday.

"We're setting them on fire in different ways. Some of them are incendiary fires or arson fires. Some will be accidental, like a carelessly discarded cigarette, maybe a knocked over candle," said Fire District 3’s Deputy Fire Marshal Mark Northrop.

About 80 fire investigation students will be stepping out of the classroom and onto one of these 12 mini scenes so that they can get hands-on practice before they step into the real world.

'What they'll learn is how to follow damage patterns, how to read char patterns, how to find evidence after it's been burnt and …how to conduct a systematic scientific investigation so that they can use whatever evidence or items they find to really understand what and how the fire started," added Northrop.

The students will then have to create a PowerPoint and report how they believe the fire started and why. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2010 and 2014, US municipal fire departments responded more than 261,000 intentionally set fires.

"Fire arson is one of the most difficult of all crimes if it's a set fire. However, there are some wonderful guides out, There are some wonderful books but there is nothing, any student of this industry will tell you, the true teacher is the street, seeing fires, plus hands-on," said First Vice President of the IAAI Barry Grimm.

The students will use these burnt buildings for their training on Thursday.

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