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Fire Scene Evidence Collection Guide


This section details how to properly locate, document, collect, label, package, store, and preserve documents during fire scene evidence collection and for subsequent use in testing or legal proceedings. Documents evidence includes machine-printed documents, handwritten documents, collaged documents, typewriters, printers, writing implements, and handwriting exemplars. Key factors in determining which fire scene evidence collection procedure should be used for a particular document include the type of document or instrument, whether it is dry or wet, and which analyses may be requested. Documents can bear many types of evidence suitable for analysis, including impressions, tears, inks, burn patterns, fingerprints, paper composition, and DNA. Consult your laboratory to discuss the possibilities. Collecting, packaging, and transporting documents as evidence must be done properly or the documents, writing implements, or machines may be damaged or altered in a way that negatively affects their evidentiary value. Follow the procedures in this section to implement fire scene evidence collection best practices for documents. If you are unsure which documents fire scene evidence collection procedure to use or do not have sufficient experience to execute the procedure, consult your laboratory prior to collection.


Select a type of evidence to review its collection and packaging procedures.

Remember to also review the Checklists prior to collection and prior to releasing the scene.

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