NCFS National Center for Forensic Science

Basic Fire Debris Analysis

January 9 – February 6, 2017
Course Title:
Basic Fire Debris Analysis
Course Description:

Newly Revised!

Subject matter experts have developed this course for analysts new to fire debris analysis. The course is comprised of lessons on the subjects of basic organic chemistry, ignitable liquid production, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, extraction of ignitable liquid residues, and laboratory analysis of ignitable liquids. The material in the lesson is varied in format with text, figures, animation, and film that explain and demonstrate basic principles and procedures. An instructor will be available to answer questions and promote discussion of particular topics. Exercises and quizzes are at the end of each lesson to reinforce comprehension and retention of the lesson concepts. By the end of the course the student will understand the theory of gas chromatography – mass spectrometry and be able to develop an analytical method for analysis of ignitable liquids. The student will have knowledge of petroleum industry operations and how ignitable liquids are produced. The student will be introduced to the ASTM International methods of extraction and analysis of ignitable liquids. The culmination will be the student’s ability to analyze and classify ignitable liquids. This is a pre-requisite for the advanced fire debris analysis course where students apply knowledge gained in the basic fire debris analysis.

The course is asynchronous and self paced.  It contains approximately 20 hours of content; with study and testing we estimate that the entire course will take 35-40 hours.  Students will have access to the course and the instructor for the entire time frame.


Two continuing education units (CEU) are given upon completion of this course.


Laura Hernandez, Forensic Scientist, Texas Department of Public Safety

Students must have a college degree in chemistry or a related scientific degree and experience with instrumental analytical techniques.
Location and Duration:
This is a four week course offered through the Web.
Technical Requirements:
To take this online course, you must have access to a computer with an Internet connection and an email account.  A broadband Internet connection is preferred.  You must be able to download zipped GC-MS data files and a spectral library from the course website.  You will need Chemstation or AMDIS to use the library and analyze the data files for lesson exercises.Recommended minimum browser: recent Google Chrome, recent Mozilla Firefox, Safari 6, Internet Explorer 9.Recommended plug-ins: Adobe Reader, Quicktime, Windows Media Player (PC).
$750.00 Refunds will be issued only in extreme cases and considered on a case by case basis.
Registration is now open.  Click here to begin the registration process.

There is a minimum enrollment of 10 students for this course to run.

Please note:  Payment in full must be received by course start date.

If you have questions about this course, please contact Erika Remley at (407) 823-0842 or