Over the years, fire cases investigations have tremendously evolved. In the past, arson cases mainly relied on “expert” testimonies that were anything but an expert. No requirements or education would qualify one to become a fire expert. As such, many innocent people ended up getting wrongfully convicted because of the so-called expert testimonies. It took decades to have a competent set of standards that evaluate if one qualifies as a fire expert or not. Currently, a fire investigator needs to have some knowledge in chemistry and physics.
The case of Richey v Bradshaw (2005) played a huge role in creating the existing standard. NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921contain the professional qualifications for fire investigators and the guide to fire and explosion investigations, respectively (Lentini, 2019). Before the establishment of these standards, many expert testimonies mainly relied on presumptive K9 alerts or evidence of the presence of an accelerant. The use of K9s started in the 1980s. In the years that followed, the use of K9s and their validity as evidence in arson cases was being questioned by many. The argument was made