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Fuel Correlation

Liquid and semi-liquid distillate products (e.g. petrol, kerosene, and diesel) can be analysed and easily compared in order to establish a common source (i.e. it can be determined whether or not two or more products are indistinguishable). Such analyses are invaluable for cases involving theft of fuel, or arson cases where a liquid accelerant was left at the scene and one is subsequently found in the suspect’s possession.

Case Study

Following closing time, a fire occurred in a pub. Police Scenes of Crime Officers attended the scene and established that there were two seats of fire in the bar area of the pub; they took fire debris samples from each seat of fire. A container of liquid was found adjacent to one of the fire seats, and the liquid therein was recovered. A further container of liquid was found in the locked pub cellar.

SGS M-Scan analysed the headspace of both samples of fire debris and established that petrol and a small amount of diesel was present in each sample.

Fuel Correlation SampleFuel Correlation Sample

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further analysis of the debris identified the presence of the Esso petrol additive package in both samples.

The liquid from the container adjacent to one of the fire seats was analysed and established to be a mixture of diesel and Esso petrol (approximately 98% petrol), whilst the liquid recovered from the pub cellar was found to be diesel alone.

 

Fuel Correlation SampleFuel Correlation Sample

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using biomarkers within the fuels, SGS M-Scan was able to show that the diesel in the canister from the locked cellar was different to the diesel found in the petrol-diesel mixture in the bar area, thus reducing the suspicion that the pub owner was involved in setting the fire.

Fuel Correlation SampleFuel Correlation Sample