Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Brian J. Meacham, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Christopher Wood, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Nicholas A. Dembsey, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Tahar El-Korchi, Department Head




"Fire investigators have historically relied upon fire damage as a means to conclude where a fire originated despite the lack of formal processes. The historical and current literature on the topic was evaluated with a specific emphasis toward the research conducted over the past eighty years related to fire patterns and their creation in the context of the fire environment. A seven step reasoning process for evaluating damage for determining the area of origin, along with a new definition for the term fire pattern, was developed. The aim was to develop and implement into practice a decision support framework that assists forensic fire investigators in assessing the efficacy of fire burn patterns as reliable indicators of the area of fire origin. This was facilitated by the development of a prototype method for determining the area of origin based on fire patterns analysis, named the Process for Origin Determination (POD). This dissertation describes the application of the POD with test subjects and presents an analysis of the outcomes showing its benefits. It has been shown through the use of reliability and validity tests that the POD assisted novices in more consistently and more accurately determining the area of origin over a variety of scenarios."


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Fire Protection Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





origin determination, fire investigation, fire protection engineering, fire effects, fire patterns