Kirk's Fire Investigation

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 5/2/2011
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Taking the reader from the beginning stages of a fire investigation in evidence collection and evaluating a fire scene to the end stages of report writing and giving testimony, internationally recognized forensic scientist John DeHaan is joined by forensic fire engineering expert David Icove for the 7thedition of Kirk's Fire Investigation. The model curriculum of the Fire Emergency Service Higher Education (FESHE) group serves as a basis for this important text which provides updated and expanded information on fire dynamics, ignition as well as brand new case examples. With appendices unique in content and focus including an Evidence Collection Kit and Incident Report Forms, this text serves as the keystone text in the field for both seasoned fire investigators as well as fire service professionals seeking the fundamentals and the most up-to-date information for the field of fire investigation.

Author Biography



An internationally recognized forensic scientist, Dr. DeHaan is the senior author of Kirk’s Fire Investigation and co-author of Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction, the two leading textbooks in the field of fire and arson investigation. He is also a former principal member of the NFPA 921 Technical Committee on Fire Investigations.


Dr. DeHaan has been a criminalist for more than 40 years and has gained considerable expertise in the analysis of fire and explosion evidence as well  shoe print, and instrumental analysis and crime scene reconstruction. He has been employed as a criminalist by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the California Department of Justice.

His research into forensic fire scene reconstruction is based on first-hand fire experiments on fire behavior involving more than 500 observed full-scale structure, and 100 vehicle fires under controlled conditions, as well as laboratory-scale studies. Dr. DeHaan has testified as an expert witness in civil and criminal trials across the United States and overseas. He is currently the president of Fire-Ex Forensics Inc. and consults on civil and criminal fire and explosion cases across the United States and Canada and overseas.


Dr. DeHaan graduated from the University of Illinois—Chicago Circle in 1969 with a BS degree in Physics and a minor in Criminalistics. He was awarded a PhD in Pure and Applied Chemistry (Forensic Science) by Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1995. Dr. DeHaan is a Fellow of the American Board of Criminalistics (Fire Debris), a Fellow of the Forensic Science Society (UK), and holds Diplomas in Fire Investigation from the Forensic Science Society and the Institution of Fire Engineers and a Certified Fire Investigator certification from the International Association of Arson Investigators. He is also a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator from the National Association of Fire Investigators.


David J. Icove, PhD, PE, CFEI

An internationally recognized forensic fire engineering expert with more than 40 years of experience, Dr. Icove is co-author of Kirk’s Fire Investigation and Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction, the two leading textbooks in the field of fire and arson investigation.  He is also co-author of Combating Arson-for-Profit, the leading textbook on the crime of economic arson. Since 1992 he has served as a principal member of the NFPA 921 Technical Committee on Fire Investigations. As a retired career federal law enforcement agent, Dr. Icove served as a criminal investigator on the federal, state, and local levels. He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI).


He retired in 2005 as an Inspector in the Criminal Investigations Division of the U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Police, Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was assigned for the last 2 years to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). In addition to conducting major case investigations, Dr. Icove oversaw the development of advanced fire investigation training and technology programs in cooperation with various agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) U.S. Fire Administration.


Before transferring to the U.S. TVA Police in 1993, he served 9 years as a program manager in the elite Behavioral Science and Criminal Profiling Units at the FBI, Quantico, Virginia. At the FBI, he implemented and became the first supervisor of the Arson and Bombing Investigative Support (ABIS) Program, staffed by FBI and ATF criminal profilers. Prior to his work at the FBI, Dr. Icove served as a criminal investigator at arson bureaus of the Knoxville Police Department, the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office.


His expertise in forensic fire scene reconstruction is based on a blend of on-scene experience, conduction of fire tests and experiments, and participation in prison interviews of convicted arsonists and bombers. He has testified as an expert witness in civil and criminal trials, as well as before U.S. congressional committees seeking guidance on key arson investigation and legislative initiatives.


Dr. Icove holds BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the University of Tennessee. He also holds a BS degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland—College Park. He is presently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; serves on the faculty of the University of Maryland’s Professional Master of Engineering in Fire Protection; and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction (Sample Chapter)

  2. The Elementary Chemistry of Combustion

  3. Fundamentals of Fire Behavior and Building Construction

  4. Combustion Properties of Liquid and Gaseous Fuels

  5. Combustion Properties of Solid Fuels

  6. Sources of Ignition

  7. Structure Fires and their Investigation

  8. Grass and Wildland Fires and their Investigation

  9. Automobile, Other Motor Vehicle, and Ship Fires

10. Electrical Causes of Fires

11. Clothing and Fabric Fires

12. Explosions and Explosive Combustion

13. Chemical Fires and and Hazardous Materials

14. Laboratory Services

15. Fire-Related Deaths and Injuries

16. Arson as a Crime

17. Other Investigative Topics

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