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Fires . . . Accidental or Arson? Fire Investigations

Fires . . . Accidental or Arson? Fire Investigations. By Richard J. Keyworth. Outskirts Press,; 165 pages; $19.95.

When viewing news reports of houses or businesses engulfed in flames, watchers may wonder whether the fire was accidental or deliberate. Author Richard J. Keyworth’s book, Fires . . . Accidental or Arson? Fire Investigations will assist the reader in understanding why some fires are more suspicious than others.

With 40 years of experience investigating fires and instructing fire investigators, Keyworth has a solid knowledge of the field. He is also adept at keeping the reader’s attention, making the book read like a drawn-out thriller, not a textbook.

Through a series of case studies, he teaches the reader comprehensive investigative techniques for determining a fire’s origins. In addition, he shares his techniques for asking the right questions to help solve cases.

The author is methodical in his investigations and presents a guide that others can use. But the author makes it clear that investigating fires is a team effort inclusive of law enforcement.

This book is written for arson investigation practitioners and for those looking to get into the firefighting field. However, it would also be an asset for detectives or criminal investigators, who are tasked with collaborating with fire officials.

Moreover, it will assist any investigator looking to hone his or her investigative skills. He also includes valuable information for homeowners and business owners on how to prevent fires from occurring.

Reviewer: Dr. Brian L. Royster is an assistant professor at Saint Peter’s College and a retired New Jersey State Trooper. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy 214th Session and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Command Institute for Law Enforcement Executives. He is a member of the ASIS International Crime and Loss Prevention Council.