Investigation of Kerosene used as Fire Accelerant Remaining on Different Kinds of Fabrics

Abdulrhman M. Dhabbah


In arson cases, the detection and identification of fire accelerants is of high importance for elucidation of such crimes. The present study aims to investigate the remaining fraction of kerosene hydrocarbons impregnated on four kinds of textiles (nylon, polyester, wool and cotton). The volatile fraction was collected by SPME on non-burnt and
burnt samples at successive times (0, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 h.), then analyzed by GC-MS. Among the 27 characteristic compounds identified in kerosene, aromatic hydrocarbons were the predominant components, but their evaporation was faster than alkanes in unburnt textiles. Also, in the case of non-burnt samples, the total amount of kerosene residues was higher in synthetic tissues than in natural materials. After burning the different kinds of impregnated textiles, 22 hydrocarbons were detected with a decreasing amount over time, while the concentration of linear alkanes remained higher during the sampling time. All the partially burnt samples displayed much less kerosene residues than in the same unburnt samples. Unlike the non-burnt samples, the profile of kerosene amount as function of time was
very similar on the four investigated kinds of fabrics after burning. These results and the proposed procedure should help forensic investigators in the field of fire debris analysis, in arson cases.


Forensic Science, Kerosene, Natural, Synthetic Textiles, SPME, GC-MS, Fire Residues

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