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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Covington, Louisiana
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    1

    Default Fire scenes with a strong odor of ammonia

    In the last two months, I have investigated three fires that contained a strong odor of ammonia. Two of the fires were structure fires on opposite sides of the parish. The other one was a vehicle fire. All three of these fires were definately arson. On the first fire, I initially thought that the ammonia was to conceal the odor of the accelerant from the K-9. I do not believe that these fires are connected in any way. Does anyone know how ammonia could be used to start or accelerate a fire? Or has anyone else encountered this problem.

    I.E. Samples were taken on all three scenes and the chemical analysis came back with three different accelerants (kerosene, paint thinner, and gasoline)


  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    PA
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    3

    Default

    We had an incident in a house fire with a strong odor of ammonia. Our HazMat team was called to the scene and detected high levels of ammonia in certain areas. At first we thought that this was urine based (cats), but after further investigation, it was determined to be a cellulose type of blown insulation that was smoldering between the walls. Hope this helps.
    Jim Wolfe

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Kane. Pa.
    Posts
    1

    Default

    The strong odor of ammonia could be from a methamphetimine as ammonia is one of the key ingredients in the manufacture of illegal drugs. This could be true especially in the house fires you investigated. The flame color is usually green or bluish green when burning.. did any of your men see any of these colors? Hope this helps
    Toma

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    WAKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
    Posts
    49

    Default

    im suprised no one has stated the obvious. the fabric involved in the fire. synthetic fabrics will often times emit an odor similar to the ones you are reporting. want to test it??? go to a fabric store and buy some then burn it.
    YES I AM A PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTER AND YES I AM IN THE UNION

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    F.L. CO,USA
    Posts
    107

    Default

    Anhydrous ammonia is combustible. Doesnt have the vapor pressure of common accelerants though. Since anhydrous is getting so popular with meth labs, I wouldnt rule anything out.

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