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APRIL 7-12 2024


Forensic Anthropology & Burned Remains: Advanced Fire Fatality Scene Techniques & Research

Thursday, April 11, 2024 (1:00pm - 5:00pm) (Celebrity 4)

In 2020, a working collaboration between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Western Carolina University (WCU) was created. This joint venture combined WCU’s Forensic Anthropology Research Station (FOREST) with ATF’s fire investigation resources including CFIs, NCETR, and the ATF Fire Research Laboratory. The partnership’s core mission focuses on utilizing the expertise and resources from both institutions for the purposes of training and research. Specifically, the collaboration would focus on burned human remains forensic research and training intended for investigators and fatal fire scene processing. Since inception, the partnership has provided advanced professional instruction to law enforcement, fire service, legal, forensic, and medicolegal investigative personnel from across the United States. Over the years, multiple compartment burns containing a donor have occurred at the FOREST. During testing, the compartments were videoed and fitted with data instrumentation for documentative purposes. This information will be shared to provide the same holistic viewing opportunity of how a compartment’s thermal environment impacts human remains from ignition to suppression. The burns have also yielded substantial research findings regarding both scene processing techniques and forensic evidence survivability. This presentation will describe many of the techniques learned that are applicable to field work including non-intrusive methods to scan burned remains for ballistic projectiles and removing burned remains from tight confines. The presentation will also detail numerous forensic research findings. These include the survivability of foreign DNA inside burned human remains post-flashover, the survivability of blood evidence around the body, and comparative viewing involving the application of ignitable liquids to the scene. The presentation will also provide insight in the various continuing courses of research along with new ventures planned in forthcoming burns.


Darren Solomon

Darren Solomon is a Senior Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) based in Charlotte, North Carolina. SA Solomon has worked for ATF for twenty years, serving eight of those years as a Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) certified by both ATF and the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI). SA Solomon is also a member of ATF’s National Response Team and has been designated as Lead CFI on multiple responses. Prior to joining ATF, SA Solomon worked as a police officer with the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Police Department serving four of those years as an Arson Detective assigned to the Fire Investigation Task Force. SA Solomon holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and a Master’s Degree from Oklahoma State University. He also represents ATF on the National Fire Protection Association 1321 - Standard for Fire Investigations Units and is currently the 1st Vice-President of the IAAI– North Carolina Chapter. During the course of his career, SA Solomon has had the privilege to teach at the National Fire Academy, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the International Law Enforcement Academy in El Salvador.

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