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  1. #1
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    Default would you use this pic?

    I am a fire investigator in training. I have a pick that was e-mailed to me that was taken by a bystander on a camera phone. It shows the early stages of a fire that what was eventually a complete loss. Would you include it in your report?


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    As long as you can document, who sent you the picture and how you received it, along with a short statement from the photographer about what he or she saw at the incident while taking the picture(s), it will be fine.

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    Just be sure that the pic is really taken at the same fire you are investigating....and that someone is not puzzling you.

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    Thank you for the information. I can confirm those questions.

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    Did the pic came with timing infos? If so beware of wrong setting in the camera.
    I had a tough time with a surveillance camera with wrong time indication.

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    send a private message to gerogewendtcfi. He has a wealth of knowledge of all things investigation related.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber ffmedcbk1's Avatar
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    i took a few photos on the phone of a commercial garage fire i drove by in my way to work one morn.

    it was the first photo evidence and was requested by the investigators and the insurence companies,

    is photos the best, no. but they are useful.
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

  8. #8

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    Thumbs up cell phone camera

    I have not used a phone picture, but I have used photos taken by spectators. As has been said before, document, document, document. I investigate fires for the local sheriffs office and they recently got one from a babysitter next to a house that the resident set fire to. After calling 911 he took a cell phone picture. I think the photo was used at trial. By the way the resident was found guilty & is awaiting sentencing.

    Dick

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    Interesting question. Couple of thoughts,

    Remember, you as an investigator have a standard to reach if you want to use photos in court. Your photos have to be relevant to the case. They also have to be an accurante depiction of the scene as you saw it (this is to avoid special effects and alterations). They also have to be verifiable.

    However, you cannot meet this standard with the witness photos. But the witness can. It would probably be a good idea to let the witness know (after you get the photo, of course ), that he may have to be a witness later on. That means getting all of his biographical and contact info.

    Also, why are you including the photo in the report? I have used witness photos to show pre-arrival conditions, document the progression of the fire, prove that an individual is at the scene, etc. If there is a professional real need to use the photo in your report, use it. If you are just using it to show a really big fire or cool fire trucks, leave it out. Remember, you can still, and should, keep the photo in the file.

    As far as telephone photos and videos...I have used them. But their quality usually sucks. Especially when they are transferred to a computer screen. Don't get your hopes up.

    When you are investigating a fire, remember that everyone, everyone, everyone has a video or still camera these days. It is important to have someone, probably a uniform, canvas the crowd and grab ID from folks with cameras. You cann then contact them later, if necessary, and view their images later.

    YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO CONFISCATE CAMERAS OR FILM! NONE! Please don't get yourself into trouble by doing this. This is cowboy TV cop crap.

    Always check the fire buff sites for photos of your fire. I have, more than once, found pre-water-on-the-fire photos of my total loss fire on these sites. Learn the sites in your area that post these photos and mark them as Favorites.

    Always check the sites like youtube and ebaums world for videos of your fire. It is a rare shot, but arsonists take videos of their work, too. You have to check very quickly after the fire, as many of these sites will take videos down when they realize that they contain images of criminal activity.

    Also, when you are executing a search warrant at a suspect's home or car, or if you are making a collar, look around for cameras. You would not believe how many times fire investigators find the evidence of the fire on cameras in the possession of the suspect. YOU WILL MOST LIKELY NEED A WARRANT TO LOOK AT THE IMAGES. HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT TAKE POSSESSION OF THE CAMERA, BOOK IT AS EVIDENCE AND CONSULT THE PROSECUTING AUTHORITIES FOR GUIDANCE. DO NOT LOOK AT THE IMAGES PRIOR TO GETTING A WARRANT. DO NOT LOOK AT THE IMAGES PRIOR TO GETTING A WARRANT. DO NOT LOOK AT THE IMAGES PRIOR TO GETTING A WARRANT. DO NOT LOOK AT THE IMAGES PRIOR TO GETTING A WARRANT. DO NOT LOOK AT THE IMAGES PRIOR TO GETTING A WARRANT.

    Lastly, there are several FREE training programs on this type of subject at www/cfitrainer.net.

    Email me if you need more at wendtcfi@optonline.net.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  10. #10
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO CONFISCATE CAMERAS OR FILM! NONE! Please don't get yourself into trouble by doing this. This is cowboy TV cop crap..
    George, see post #30 over here: http://forums.firehouse.com/showthre...=107333&page=2
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber NathanWert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post

    Lastly, there are several FREE training programs on this type of subject at www/cfitrainer.net.
    That link takes me to a yahoo page. *shrug*
    FF-II/EMT-B/Incident Safety Officer/Photographer
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    First run area (Fire): Lancaster, NH & Guildhall, VT (84.3 Sq Miles)
    First run area (Ambulance): Lancaster & Jefferson, NH; Gilman, Guildhall & Lunenberg, VT (185.1 Sq Miles)

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanWert View Post
    That link takes me to a yahoo page. *shrug*
    Works fine for me. Maybe your keyboard?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    In my experience quite every big fire can be find on youtube, sometimes it's useless, sometimes not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanWert View Post
    That link takes me to a yahoo page. *shrug*
    Sorry. Should have been www.cfitrainer.net.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  15. #15
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    very good info, thanks. I am currently doing all the sessions on cfi trainer. A great site.

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