Evaluation of the fire-related deaths: Autopsy study

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2021 Sep;27(5):539-546. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2020.64911.

Abstract

Background: The fire is a public health problem that occurs because of various reasons, threatens the lives of organisms, and may cause economic losses. The forensic investigation and the crime (event) scene investigation and first medical examination to be performed for the persons in the fire scene might reveal important evidences.

Methods: The autopsy reports prepared in Trabzon Branch Office, The Ministry of Justice Council of Forensic Medicine, for the death cases found in fire scene between 2007 and 2016 were retrospectively examined.

Results: As a result of analyzing the 10-year archive data, it was determined that 100 (63.3%) of 158 cases, which have been found in the fire scene and undergone forensic autopsy, were male and 58 (36.7%) were female. By excluding the group of cases with undetected origin, it was determined that there was a statistically significant difference between the homicide-caused deaths and the deaths with other causes (accident and suicide) in terms of the carboxyhemoglobin (HbCO) levels. By grouping the fire scene as outdoor and indoor areas, the comparison made between the HbCO levels of cases is presented in table. The difference between the two groups was found to be statistically significant (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Starting from the crime scene investigation, a detailed radiological, toxicological, and pathological investigation must be performed for the persons taken out from the fire scenes. It was observed that the HbCO levels can be used in determining the space in which death occurred, the origin, and the comorbidities of the individual.