Monday, February 27, 2012

CSI South Meadows

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue showed off the technical side of the business at South Meadows Middle School Thursday, January 23rd. Inspector Martin Stapleton brought samples of items recovered from investigating hundreds of fires and challenged students to identify them. The items were either the cause or contributing factors in starting fires in buildings or vehicles.

“If you look carefully, these items all have characteristics that help us tell what caused the fire,” Stapleton said. Students pulled on gloves and got to touch and pick up the items that seldom resembled their former shape and purpose. From a melted coffee pot to an electrical conduit, all had evidence of fire or electrical arcing.

“Think C-S-I,” said Lt. Steve Erb referring to a popular television series about crime scene investigators. Erb is the officer aboard Hillsboro’s Engine 2 on this day. While Erb and his crew are tasked with extinguishing the fire, he notes that the Investigator’s role is to take a possible crime scene that’s had hundreds or thousands of gallons of water poured on it and maybe a dozen people trampling through it and figure out where the fire started and what caused it. After the investigation presentation, Erb took most of the crowd outside to the fire engine and discussed the science involved in operating a modern fire engine specifically and extinguishing fires in general.