fire technology and arson investigation
Fire Technology

Fire Technology and Arson Investigation

3 State of matter


4 General Categories Of Heat Energy

          Chemical Heat Energy
          Electrical Heat Energy
          Mechanical Heat Energy
          Nuclear Heat Energy

Backdraft - a phenomenon in which a fire that has consumed all available
oxygen suddenly explodes when more oxygen is made available, typically
because a door or window has been opened.

Boiling Point - The temperature of a substance where the rate of
evaporation exceeds the rate of condensation.

British Thermal Unit - (BTU)  The amount of heat needed to raise the
temperature of one pound of water one degree F.

Calorie - The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one
gram of water one degree Centigrade.

Centigrade - (Celcius)  On the Centigrade scale, zero is the melting
point of ice; 100 degrees is the boiling point of water.

Chemical Heat Energy

          Heat of Combustion - The amount of heat generated by the
          combustion (oxidation) process.

          Heat of Decomposition - The release of heat from decomposing
          compounds.  These compounds may be unstable and release
          their heat very quickly or they may detonate.

          Heat of Solution - The heat released by the mixture of matter
          in a liquid.  Some acids, when dissolved, give off sufficient
          heat to pose exposure problems to nearby combustibles.

          Spontaneous Heating - The heating of an organic substance
          without the addition of external heat.  Spontaneous heating
          occurs most frequently where sufficient air is not present
          to dissipate the heat produced.  The speed of a heating
          reaction doubles with each 180 F (80 C) temperature increase.

Classification of Fires
          Class A Fire - Fires involving ordinary combustible materials,
          such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and many plastics.

          Class B Fires - Fires involving flammable liquids, greases
          and gases.

          Class C Fires - Fires involving energized electrical equipment.

          Class D Fires - Fires involving combustible metals, such as
          magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium and potassium.

          Class K Fires - Class K is a new classification of fire as
          of 1998 and involves fires in combustible cooking fuels such
          as vegetable or animal fats.

Combustion - is the self-sustaining process of rapid oxidation of a
fuel being reduced by an oxidizing agent along with the evolution of
heat and light.

Dry Chemicals and Halons - method of fire extinguishment, interrupt
the flame producing chemical reaction, resulting in rapid extinguishment.

Electrical Heat Energy

          Dielectric Heating - The heating that results from the action
          of either pulsating direct current, or alternating current
          at high frequency on a non-conductive material.

          Heat from Arcing - Heat released either as a high-temperature
          arc or as molten material from the conductor.

          Heat Generated by Lightning - The heat generated by the
          discharged of thousands of volts from either earth to cloud,
          cloud to cloud or from cloud to ground.

          Induction Heating - The heating of materials resulting from
          an alternating current flow causing a magnetic field influence.

          Leakage Current Heating - The heat resulting from imperfect
          or improperly insulated electrical materials.  This is
          particularly evident where the insulation is required to
          handle high voltage or loads near maximum capacity.

          Resistance Heating - The heat generated by passing an
          electrical force through a conductor such as a wire or
          an appliance.

          Static Electricity Heating - Heat released as an arc between
          oppositely charged surfaces.  Static electricity can be
          generated by the contact and separation of charged surfaces
          or by fluids flowing through pipes.


Endothermic Heat Reaction - A chemical reaction where a substance
absorbs heat energy.

Exothermic Heat Reaction - A chemical reaction where a substance
gives off heat energy.

Fahrenheit - On the Fahrenheit scale, 32 degrees is the melting point
of ice; 212 degrees is the boiling point of water.

Fire point - The temperature at which a liquid fuel will produce
vapors sufficient to support combustion once ignited.  The fire point
is usually a few degrees above the flash point.

Fire Triangle - Oxygen, Fuel, Heat

Fire National Training Institute - (FNTI) the Institution for training
on human resource development of all personnel of the Bureau of Fire
Protection (BFP).

Flame - A gas-phased combustion.

Flammable or Explosive Limit - The percentage of a substance in air
that will burn once it is ignited.  Most substances have an upper
(too rich) and a lower (too lean) flammable limit.

Flashover - an instance of a fire spreading very rapidly across a gap
because of intense heat. Occurs when a room or other area becomes
heated to the point where flames flash over the entire surface or area.

Flash Point - The minimum temperature at which a liquid fuel gives
off sufficient vapors to form an ignitable mixture with the air near
the surface.  At this temperature, the ignited vapors will flash, but
will not continue to burn.

Fuel - is the material or substance being oxidized or burned in the
combustion process. Material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned
to produce heat or power.

Fuel Removal - method of fire extinguishment, fire is effectively
extinguished by removing the fuel source.  This may be accomplished by
stopping the flow of liquid or gaseous fuel or by removing solid fuel
in the path of the fire or allow the fire  to burn until all fuel
is consumed.

Glowing Combustion -  A condensed phased combustion.

Heat - the quality of being hot; high temperature. A form of energy
arising from the random motion of the molecules of bodies, which
may be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation.

Heating - is transfer of energy, from a hotter body to a colder one,
other than by work or transfer of matter.

Heat of Combustion - The amount of heat generated by the combustion
(oxidation) process.

Heat Transfer

          Conduction - Conduction is the transfer of energy through
          matter from particle to particle. Heat may be conducted from
          one body to another by direct contact of the two bodies or
          by an intervening heat-conducting medium.

          Convection -  is the transfer of heat by the actual movement
          of the warmed matter. Transfer of heat by the movement of
          air or liquid.

          Radiation -  Electromagnetic waves that directly transport
          energy through space.

Ignition Temperature - The minimum temperature to which a fuel in air
must be heated in order to start self-sustained combustion independent
of the heating source.

Heat - The form of energy that raises temperature.  Heat is measured
by the amount of work it does.

Heat of Decomposition -  The release of heat from decomposing compounds.
These compounds may be unstable and release their heat very quickly or
they may detonate.

Heat of Solution -  The heat released by the mixture of matter in a
liquid.  Some acids, when dissolved, give off sufficient heat to pose
exposure problems to nearby combustibles.

Mechanical Heat Energy

          Frictional Heat - The heat generated by the movement between
          two objects in contact with each other.

          Friction Sparks - The heat generated in the form of sparks
          from solid objects striking each other.  Most often at least
          one of the objects is metal.

          Heat of Compression - The heat generated by the forced
          reduction of a gaseous volume.  Diesel engines ignite fuel
          vapor without a spark plug by the use of this principle.

Nuclear Fission and Fusion - The heat generated by either the
splitting or combining of atoms.

Oxidation - The complex chemical reaction of organic material with
oxygen or other oxidizing agents in the formation of more stable

Oxidizing Agents - are those materials that yield oxygen or other
oxidizing gases during the course of a chemical reaction.

Oxygen Dilution - is the reduction of the oxygen concentration to
the fire area.

Phases of Fire
           Incipient Phase (Growth Stage)  
           Free-Burning Phase (Fully Developed Stage)
           Smoldering Phase (Decay Stage)

Products of Combustion

          Fire gases

Pyrolysis (also known as thermalde composition) - is defined as the
chemical decomposition of matter through the action of heat.

RA 6975 - created the BFP.

          Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) - administers and enforces
          the fire code of the Philippines. The Fire Bureau shall
          have the power to  investigate all causes of fires and, if
          necessary, file the proper  complaints with the city or
          provincial prosecutor who has jurisdiction  over the case.

          Chief of the Fire Bureau - rank is Director.
          Deputy Chief for Administration of the Fire Bureau - 2nd
          highest officer in the BFP. Rank is Chief Superintendent.

          Deputy Chief for Operation of the Fire Bureau - the 3rd
          highest officer in the BFP. Rank is Chief Superintendent.

          Chief of Directorial Staff of the Fire Bureau - 4th highest
          officer in the BFP. Rank is Chief Superintendent.

          Directors of the Directorates in the respective national
          headquarters office - rank is Senior Superintendent.

          Regional Director for Fire Protection - The BFP 
          shall establish, operate and maintain their respective
          regional offices in each of the administrative regions of
          the country. Rank is Senior Superintendent.
                - He/She shall be respectively assisted by the
                  following officers with the rank of superintendent:
                  Assistant Regional Director for Administration,
                  Assistant Regional Director for Operations, and
                  Regional Chief of Directorial Staff.
          Assistant Regional Director for Fire Protection - The
          assistant heads of the Department's regional offices - rank
          is Senior Superintendent.

          District Fire Marshall - the heads of the NCR district offices -
          rank is Senior Superintendent.

          Provincial Fire Marshall - the heads of the provincial offices -
          rank is Superintendent.

          District Fire Marshall - heads of the district offices - rank
          is Chief Inspector.

          Chief of Municipal/City Fire Station - (also called City/
          Municipal Fire Marshall) - the heads of the municipal or
          city stations - rank is Senior Inspector.

          Fire Station - at least one in every provincial capital, city
          and municipality.

          LGU - (Local Government Unit) - shall provide the site of the
          Fire Station.

RA 9263 - this Act shall be known as the "Bureau of Fire Protection
and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Professionalization Act of 2004.

          The BFP is headed by a Chief to be assisted by 2 deputy chief, 1
          for administration and 1 for operation, all appointed by the
          President upon recommendation of DILG Secretary from among
          qualified officers with at least the rank of Senior Superintendent
          in the service.

          In no case shall any officer who has retired or is retirable
          within six (6) months from his/her compulsory retirement age
          be appointed as Chief of the Fire Bureau or Chief of the
          Jail Bureau.

          The Chief of the Fire Bureau and Chief of the Jail Bureau
          shall serve a tour of duty not to exceed four (4) years.

          The President may extend such tour of duty in times of war
          or other national emergency declared by Congress.

RA 9514 - this act shall be known as the fire code of the Philippines
of 2008. An Act establishing a comprehensive fire code of the
Philippines repealing PD 1185 and for other purposes.

Specific Gravity - the density of liquids in relation to water.

Spontaneous Heating - The heating of an organic substance without
the addition of external heat.  Spontaneous heating occurs most
frequently where sufficient air is not present to dissipate the
heat produced.

Temperature Reduction - method of extinguishing fire,  cooling the fuel
with water to a point where it does not produce sufficient vapor to burn.

Vapor Density - the density of a particular gas or vapor relative
to that of hydrogen at the same pressure and temperature.

Definition of Terms Under RA 9514

Abatement - Any act that would remove or neutralize a fire hazard.

Administrator - Any person who acts as agent of the owner and ma nages
the use of a building for him.

Blasting Agent - Any material or mixture consisting of a fuel and
oxidizer used to set off explosives.

Cellulose Nitrate or Nitro Cellulose - A highly combustible and
explosive compound produced by the reaction of nitric acid with a
cellulose material.

Cellulose Nitrate Plastic (Pyroxylin) - Any plastic substance,
materials or compound having cellulose nitrate (nitro cellulose)
as base.

Combustible, Flammable or Inflammable - Descriptive of materials
that are easily set on fire.

Combustible Fiber - Any readily ignitable and free burning fiber such
as cotton, oakum, rags, waste cloth, waste paper, kapok, hay, straw,
Spanish moss, excelsior and other similar materials commonly
used in commerce.

Combustible Liquid - Any liquid having a flash point at or above 37.8
 C (100 F).

Corrosive Liquid - Any liquid which causes fire when in contact with
organic matter or with certain chemicals.

Curtain Board - A vertical panel of non-combustible or fire resistive
materials attached to and extending below the bottom chord of the roof
trusses, to divide the underside of the roof into separate compartments
so that heat and smoke will be directed upwards to a roof vent.

Cryogenic - Descriptive of any material which by its nature or as a
result of its reaction with other elements produces a rapid drop
in temperature of the immediate surroundings.

Damper - A normally open device installed inside an air duct system
which automatically closes to restrict the passage of smoke or fire.

Distillation - The process of first raising the temperature in separate
the more volatile from the less volatile parts and then cooling and
condensing the resulting vapor so as to produce a nearly purified

Duct System - A continuous passageway for the transmission of air.

Dust - A finely powdered substance which, when mixed with air in the
proper proportion and ignited will cause an explosion.

Electrical Arc - An extremely hot luminous bridge formed by passage
of an electric current across a space between two conductors or
terminals due to the incandescence of the conducting vapor.

Ember - A hot piece or lump that remains after a material has
partially burned, and is still oxidizing without the manifestation of flames.

Finishes - Materials used as final coating of a surface for ornamental
or protective purposes.

Fire - The active principle of burning, characterized by the heat
and light of combustion.

Fire Trap - A building unsafe in case of fire because it will burn
easily or because it lacks adequate exits or fire escapes.

Fire Alarm - Any visual or audible signal produced by a device or
system to warm the occupants of the building or fire fighting
elements of the presence or danger of fire to enable them to
undertake immediate action to save life and property and to suppress
the fire.

Fire Door - A fire resistive door prescribed for openings in fire
separation walls or partitions.

Fire Hazard - Any condition or act which increases or may cause an
increase in the probability of the occurrence of fire, or which
may obstruct, delay, hinder or interfere with fire fighting operations
and the safeguarding of life and property.

Fire Lane - The portion of a roadway or public way that should be kept
opened and unobstructed at all times for the expedient operation of
fire fighting units.

Fire Protective and Fire Safety Device - Any device intended for the
protection of buildings or persons to include but not limited to
built-in protection system such as sprinklers and other automatic
extinguishing system, detectors for heat, smoke and combustion
products and other warning system components, personal protective
equipment such as fire blankets, helmets, fire suits, gloves and other
garments that may be put on or worn by persons to protect themselves
during fire.

Fire Safety Constructions - Refers to design and installation of walls,
barriers, doors, windows, vents, means of egress, etc. integral to and
incorporated into a building or structure in order to minimize danger
to life from fire, smoke, fumes or panic before the building is
evacuated. These features are also designed to achieve, among others,
safe and rapid evacuation of people through means of egress sealed
from smoke or fire, the confinement of fire or smoke in the room or
floor of origin and de lay their spread to other parts of the building
by means of smoke sealed and fire resistant doors, walls and floors.
It shall also me an to include the treatment of buildings components
or contents with flame retardant chemicals.

Flash Point - The minimum temperature at which any material gives off
vapor in sufficient concentration to form an ignitable mixture with air.

Forcing - A process where a piece of metal is heated prior to changing
its shape or dimensions.

Fulminate - A kind of stable explosive compound which explodes by

Hazardous Operation/Process - Any act of manufacturing, fabrication,
conversion, etc., that uses or produces materials which are likely
to cause fires or explosion.

Horizontal Exit - Passageway from one building to another or through
or around a wall in approximately the same floor level.

Hose Box - A box or cabinet where fire hoses, valves and other equipment
are stored and arranged for fire fighting.

Hose Reel - A cylindrical device turning on an axis around which a
fire hose is wound and connected.

Hypergolic Fuel - A rocket or liquid propellant which consist of
combinations of fuels and oxidizers which ignite spontaneously on
contact with each other.

Industrial Baking and Drying - The industrial process of subjecting
materials to heat for the purpose of removing solvents or moisture
from the same, and/or to fuse certain chemical salts to form a
uniform glazing the surface of materials being treated.

Jumper - A piece of metal or an electrical conductor used to bypass a
safety device in an electrical system.

Occupancy - The purpose for which a building or portion thereof is
used or intended to be used.

Occupant - Any person actually occupying and using a building or
portions thereof by virtue of a lease contract with the owner or
administrator or by permission or sufferance of the latter.

Organic Peroxide - A strong oxidizing organic compound which
releases oxygen readily. It causes fire when in contact with
combustible materials especially under conditions of high temperature.

Overloading - The use of one or more electrical appliances or devices
which draw or consume electrical current beyond the designed capacity
of the existing electrical system.

Owner - The person who holds the legal right of possession or title
to a building or real property.

Oxidizing Material - A material that readily yields oxygen in
quantities sufficient to stimulate or support combustion.

Pressurized Or Forced Draft Burning Equipment - Type or burner where
the fuel is subjected to pressure prior to discharge into the
combustion chamber and/or which includes fans or other provisions for
the introduction of air at above normal atmosphere pressure into the
same combustion chamber.

Public Assembly Building - Any building or structure where fifty (50)
or more people congregate, gather, or assemble for any purpose.

Public Way - Any street, alley or other strip of land unobstructed
from the ground to the sky, deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently
appropriated for public use.

Pyrophoric - Descriptive of any substance that ignites spontaneously
when exposed to air.

Refining - A process where impurities and/or deleterious materials are
removed from a mixture in order to produce a pure element of compound.
It shall also refer to partial distillation and electrolysis.

Self-Closing Doors - Automatic closing doors that are designed to
confine smoke and heat and delay the spread of fire.

Smelting - Melting or fusing of metallic ores or compounds so as to
separate impurities from pure metals.

Sprinkler System - An integrated network of hydraulically designed
piping installed in a building, structure or area with outlets
arranged in a systematic pattern which automatically discharges water
when activated by heat or combustion products from a fire.

Standpipe System - A system of vertical pipes in a building to which
fire hoses can be attached on each floor, including a system by which
water is made available to the outlets as needed.

Vestibule - A passage hall or antechamber between the outer doors
and the interior parts of a house or building.

Vertical Shaft - An enclosed vertical space of passage that extends
from floor to floor, as well as from the base to the top of the