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APRIL 7-12 2024


Advanced Concepts in Self-Heating Fires: The Forensic Approach

Thursday, April 11, 2024 (8:00am - 12:00pm) (Celebrity 1-3)

The presence in fatty acid-based products is becoming more prominent in consumer markets. Under the right conditions these products can self-heat to the point of open flame combustion. To understand these fires, it is necessary to understand their progression from application of the product to the smoldering stage, and through to open flames. Combining the scene indicators and laboratory testing can help include or exclude this fire scenario. Using the proposed updates to the laboratory testing of fire debris evidence, demonstrations, and case examples, attendees will gain an understanding of how to use the presented information when they encounter suspected self-heating fires.


Doug Byron

Mr. Byron is the President and Forensic Chemist for Forensic and Scientific Testing, Inc. and has performed casework throughout the United States, including over 100,000 fire debris analyses for ignitable liquid residues with extensive gas chromatographic, chemical, and instrumental identification of a wide range of ignitable liquid residues. He is also court qualified in over 27 States throughout the United States and S.E. Asia. His professional contributions include authoring journal articles and a book chapter on the forensic importance of fatty acids, contributing author to, participating in research to bring emerging technologies to scenes for investigations, and serving as a technical editor for two forensic texts.

In addition, he is certified through the American Board of Criminalistics in fire debris analysis and serves on the OSAC task group currently helping to update ASTM E1618.


Laura Hernandez

Getting her professional start in academics, Ms. Hernandez entered forensics in 2007. She started analyzing fire debris samples in 2010 and has since been active in the field. She is a member of several professional organizations including AAFS, CADA, IAAI, ASTM, and OSAC. She is the current chair for the E30 interdisciplinary subcommittee on forensic sciences and the recording secretary for E30 criminalistics subcommittee. She is the course instructor for basic and advanced fire debris analysis continuing education courses through the University of Central Florida and the Chair for the Ignitable Liquids Database Committee through the National Center of Forensic Sciences. She is the task group chair for OSAC task group and the ASTM technical contact for the updates to ASTM E1618 which are currently under ballot.

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