4 Feb 2010

New weapon in fight against arsonists

7:15 pm on 4 February 2010

Arsonists may be caught more easily in future with new high-tech devices for picking up tiny traces of petrol or other accelerants.

The Fire Service is issuing investigation teams in all regions with hand-held machines called photo ionisation detectors which can detect accelerants at one part per billion.

Fire Service spokesperson Peter Wilding says until now, investigators have mostly had to rely on visual clues, such as burn patterns, to choose where to take samples from.

The new detectors will enable investigators to pinpoint suspicious sites immediately, saving thousands of dollars in lab costs, he says.