Potential dangers of accelerant use in arson

Karen Heath, Hilton Kobus, Roger Byard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Accelerant-enhanced combustion often characterizes a fire that has been deliberately set to disguise a murder scene or to destroy property for insurance purposes. The intensity and rapidity of spread of fires where accelerants have been used are often underestimated by perpetrators who may sustain heat-related injuries. The case of a 49-year-old male who was using gasoline (petrol) as an accelerant is reported to demonstrate another danger of this type of activity. After ignition, an explosion occurred that destroyed the building and caused the death of the victim who was crushed beneath a rear wall of the commercial premises. Gasoline vapour/air mixtures are extremely volatile and may cause significant explosions if exposed to flame. Given the potential danger of explosion, arsonists using accelerants do so at significant risk to themselves and to others in the vicinity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-51
    Number of pages3
    JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


    • Accelerant
    • Arson
    • Explosion
    • Gasoline
    • Petrol


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