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A Solid-phase Microextraction Method for the Detection of Ignitable Liquids in Fire Debris

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A solid-phase microextraction (SPME) procedure involving direct contact between the SPME fibers and the solid matrix and subsequent gas chromatography/mass spectrometric analysis for the detection of accelerants in fire debris is described. The extraction performances of six fibers (100 μm polydimethylsiloxane, 65 μm polydimethylsiloxane-divinylbenzene, 85 μm polyacrylate, 85 μm carboxen-polydimethylsiloxane, 70 μm Carbowax-divinylbenzene, and 50/30 μm divinylbenzene-Carboxen-polydimethylsiloxane) were investigated by directly immersing the fibers into gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuel. For simulated fire debris, in the direct contact extraction method, the SPME fiber was kept in contact with the fire debris matrix during extraction by penetrating plastic bags wrapping the sample. This method gave comparable results to the headspace SPME method in the extraction of gasoline and kerosene, and gave an improved recovery of low-volatile components in the extraction of diesel fuel from fire debris. The results demonstrate that this procedure is suitable as a simple and rapid screening method for detecting ignitable liquids in fire debris packed in plastic bags.
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Keywords: accelerants; arson analysis; fire debris; forensic science; gas chromatography; ignitable liquids; mass spectrometry; plastic evidence bag; solid-phase microextraction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Research Institute of Police Science, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-0882, Japan. 2: Forensic Science Laboratory, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-0024, Japan.

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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