FIRE – VEHICLE (ARSON)

Case description

An ARCCA engineer was asked to investigate a pickup truck fire. The truck had been reported stolen, but was subsequently found by the police and returned to the owner. The day after the truck was returned, it was reported burned in a fire.

Steps Taken:

ARCCA’s expert inspected the truck.
The expert reviewed wiring diagrams for the truck.
The expert researched and reviewed the NHTSA database for complaints and recalls for the year, make, and model of the truck.

Final Findings:

The windows of the truck were up, and the truck was found to be in driveable condition. Other than secondary heat damage to the headliner and interior, the fire was contained to a conical area between the driver and passenger seats. The interior was removed piece by piece, and there were no signs of electrical activity in the area of origin. In fact, wiring harnesses below the area of origin were not heat damaged. The truck fire was reported to have started with the truck turned off and parked at the owner’s home.

The truck was found burned, but no fire suppression was required because the fire had burned itself out. The inspection revealed no water within the interior.

It was concluded that the fire was started with chemical techniques known to arson investigators. Because the windows were up, the rapid fire consumed the available oxygen within the truck and ultimately snuffed itself out.