Fire Investigation Techniques
Arson interFIRE VRTM

This page may contain links to non-U.S. government websites. What this means to you »

What is interFIRE VRTM?

interFIRE VRTM is a virtual reality fire investigation training program available to the fire fighting community, law enforcement and the insurance industry.

For the first time, the "best practices" from the major groups concerned with fire investigation and prevention are available in a single source. Combining the finest investigative techniques with high technology, this CD-ROM program offers a comprehensive guide from which all can work. The program encourages a "team approach" to fire investigation and contains essential information for both the novice and seasoned fire investigator. Material includes:

Program Description

interFIRE VRTM uses "Quick Time" virtual reality technology that combines numerous high resolution film images into a single 360 degree navigable scene. This puts the student "in the shoes" of a fire investigator arriving at a fire scene. Using a computer mouse, the investigator can tour the entire fire scene, inside and out. As in any real investigation, the investigator is immediately faced with decisions that will be critical to the success of his or her investigation. Questions to be answered include:

The computer program keeps track of choices and compares them to "best practices" recommended by a panel of experts.

If the investigator determines that the fire was intentionally set, he or she must conduct a follow-up investigation with insurers and others who have important information. This program has a large section on insurance fraud investigation, underwriting against arson and other information of vital interest to the insurance industry.

interFIRE VRTM takes a student through a step-by-step process that can be applied to any fire investigation. The program shows a comprehensive outline of all the individual components of a thorough investigation. It combines the best of investigative theory with a variety of real world practices that have proven highly successful through years of actual fire investigations. The goal is to show a systematic method for investigating any fire.

interFIRE VRTM provides a repository of additional information on a wide variety of fire-related topics.

There are numerous hotlinks between these three sections, which allows access to important information just when the investigator needs it.

Individuals progress at their own pace. They can study the entire process or pick and choose specific areas where they feel they need particular help. They can listen and watch experts in a variety of fields provide valuable tips on how to collect evidence, interpret burn patterns or interview a potential suspect.

The Development Team

The development of interFIRE VRTM is the result of a unique partnership between public and private organizations, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), American Re-Insurance Company, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - organizations sharing a common goal to significantly increase the baseline knowledge and skills of all fire investigators nationwide. Combining the best practices of major groups involved in fire investigation and prevention accomplished this goal.

Significant contributions were provided by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), the law firm of Butler, Burnette and Pappas, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Massachusetts State Police, and numerous fire service, law enforcement and judicial personnel in Tallahassee FL, and Rehoboth Beach and Talleyville, DE.

Order a Free Copy Today!

To obtain a copy of interFIRE VRTM send a request on organizational letterhead, signed by a department chief or supervisor. Please include requestor's name, rank, and name of organization, and a description of how interFIRETM is to be used. Letters of request can be mailed, faxed or attached to an email to USFA's Tracey Hefelfinger.

Tracey Hefelfinger
U.S. Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Phone Number: (301) 447-1085
FAX: (301) 447-1178

For More Information

Visit the interFIRETM website at