Fire Scene Evidence Collection Guide
Fabric & Fibers
This section details how to properly locate, document, collect, label, package, store, and preserve fabric and fibers during fire scene evidence collection and for subsequent use in testing or legal proceedings. Fabric and fiber evidence can take many forms, including clothing, raw fabric pieces, bags, sheets, blankets, accessories, rope, cord, yarn, thread, carpet, curtains, upholstery, small torn pieces of fabric, and individual fibers. In many cases, fabrics and fibers can be collected by hand or tweezers, taking care not to crush the fibers. However, if a fiber is embedded in a substrate like upholstery or stuck to an item like tape, it is typically advisable to collect the entire substrate rather than risk damaging the fiber by forcibly removing it. Fabric and fibers can also bear other evidence, like tear marks, burn patterns, bodily fluids, and DNA that might required a different collection procedure based on that other type of evidence. For example, a sheet bearing a wet bloodstain should be collected using bloodstain evidence procedures to keep the blood from putrefying. Follow the procedures in this section to implement fire scene evidence collection best practices for fabrics and fibers. If you are unsure which fabrics and fibers 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.