By Karen Sudol
Fires like the ones set after three Bergen County, N.J., slayings dating back to 2010 may not be the ultimate evidence cleanser for killers trying to cover up the crime.
Investigators have been able to recover evidence from crime scenes despite fire damage — debunking a common misconception that any links to a crime scene can be erased through fire.
“A lot of times the general public has this perception that when there’s a fire, everything incinerates and nothing is left,” said Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “In many cases there is evidence left behind.”
Years ago, fires may have been a fairly good way to destroy evidence. But the establishment of guidelines in the 1990s on how to properly investigate fires has resulted in improved evidence preservation and collection methods. The guidelines also moved fire investigations from the realm of educated guesses to a scientific approach, said James McMullen, a forensic fire expert and former chief fire marshal for California.
Source: The Record