Rapid GC-MS as a Screening Tool for Forensic Fire Debris Analysis

04 May 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Techniques developed for the screening of forensic samples can be useful for increasing sample throughput and decreasing backlog in forensic laboratories. One such technique, rapid gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), allows for fast sample screening (≈1 min) and has gained interest in recent years for forensic applications. This work focuses on the development of methods for ignitable liquid analysis using rapid GC-MS. A sampling protocol and temperature program were developed for the analysis of these volatile samples. Using the optimized method for analysis, the limits of detection for compounds commonly found in ignitable liquids ranged from 0.012 mg/mL to 0.018 mg/mL. Once the analysis method was developed, neat ignitable liquids (i.e., gasoline and diesel fuel) were analyzed, and major components in each liquid were identified. The identification of gasoline and diesel fuel in the presence of substrate interferences was then assessed through the analysis of simulated fire debris samples. Three different substrates were spiked with each ignitable liquid, burned, and analyzed. Major compounds in both liquids were identified using the total ion chromatograms, relevant extracted ion profiles, and deconvolution methods.


fire debris analysis
ignitable liquid residue
screening methods


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.