Fire, Ignitable Fluids

1. For fire to take place, there must be: fuel, oxygen, and a source of heat (Benson, 2003).

2. When gasoline burns, it is not the liquid that is burning, but the vapor.

3. When a flammable liquid is heated, there is a brief flash which then goes out: this is the flash point (Flash, 2004). Further heating results in a point being reached where the fumes ignite and continue burning: this is the ignition point.

4. Some common ignitable fluids used by arsonists are benzol, petroleum ether, gasoline, kerosine, naphtha, and turpentine (Forensics, 2004).

5. Unlined metal paint cans are considered to be the most suitable containers to collect and preserve evidence for flammable liquid evidence in the crime laboratory because of their excellent sealing capabilities, robust design, and the fact that they are harmonious with most analytical techniques (CafT, 2002). Lined cans should not be used because the lining may contain industrial solvents similar to the materials used to start the fire.

6. Gas liquid chromatography is the method used for extracting or isolating hydrocarbon based ignitable liqui



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