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FS 120 Fire Investigation • 3 Cr.


Covers fire origin, causes, and spread. Topics include recognizing accidental and incendiary fires, securing and preserving evidence, interviewing witnesses, coordinating with other agencies, compiling reports, arson laws and court procedures. Prerequisite: FS 110 or permission of advisor.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Identify and explain the responsibilities of the fire department from a firefighter’s perspective when responding to the scene of a fire, including the possibility of incendiary devices often encountered.
  • Define criminal law and explain the constitutional amendments (4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 14th) as they apply to fire investigations.
  • Analyze the precedents set by constitutional law case studies that have affected fire investigations.
  • Define and explain the common terms used in fire investigations.
  • Describe the basic elements of fire dynamics and how they affect cause determination including fire behavior, characteristics of fuels and methods of heat transfer.
  • Analyze the relationship of building construction on fire investigations including types of construction, construction and finish materials.
  • Evaluate fire protection systems and building services and discuss how their installation affects the ignition of fires in buildings.
  • Discuss the basic principles of electricity.
  • Explain the role of the fire investigator in recognizing health and safety concerns including potential hazardous materials awareness.
  • Describe fire scene investigations and the process of conducting investigations using the scientific method.
  • Explain how an investigator determines the point of origin in a room.
  • Identify the types of fire causes and differentiate between accidental and incendiary causes.
  • Describe and explain the basic procedures used for investigating vehicle fires.
  • Identify the characteristics of arson and common motives of the fire setter.
  • Identify and analyze the causes involved in line of duty firefighter deaths related to structural and wildland firefighting, training and research and the reduction of emergency risks and accidents.

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Contact info

Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000