Instant on-scene arson identification with the G510's GC-MS technology

21st August 2019

FLIR's Griffin™ G510 GC-MS identifier used for arson detection

Fire investigators rely on a variety of tools to assist them in their mission to determine the cause and origin of a fire. At times, interpreting the results produced by those tools can be as much art as it is science.

Post-incident forensics and preventative intelligence are two scenarios in which a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) can supplement presumptive detectors to better inform action plans on-scene.

GC-MS, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, is a gold-standard technology used both inside and outside of labs. It is used to analyze complex samples, including vapor, liquid, and solid-phase chemicals.

The G510 features a large touchscreen with automated user controls that can be operated while wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). It contains long-lasting batteries and is built with an IP65-rated, spray-resistant enclosure for harsh environments.

On the fire scene, the investigator can collect a sample from the fire debris and perform either a liquid extraction or solid-phase microextraction (SPME), before introducing it to the injector on the GC-MS. In addition to a standard injector, the FLIR Griffin G510 is equipped with an air-sampling probe.

The GC-MS identifies any constituents found present in the sample mixture. An expert in the field uses this chemical signature to determine the identity of an accelerant.

The ability to confirm the presence of suspected accelerants at the point of sample collection enable fire investigators to streamline decision making regarding evidence collection and processing.