Standard Active Last Updated: May 11, 2022
ASTM E1618-19

Standard Test Method for Ignitable Liquid Residues in Extracts from Fire Debris Samples by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

Significance and Use

4.1 The identification of an ignitable liquid residue in samples from a fire scene can support the field investigator’s opinion regarding the origin, fuel load, and incendiary nature of the fire.

4.1.1 The identification of an ignitable liquid residue in a fire scene does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that a fire was incendiary in nature. Further investigation can reveal a legitimate reason for the presence of ignitable liquid residues.

4.1.2 Because of the volatility of ignitable liquids and variations in sampling techniques, the absence of detectable quantities of ignitable liquid residues does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that ignitable liquids were not present at the fire scene.

4.2 Materials normally found in a building, upon exposure to the heat of a fire, will form pyrolysis and combustion products. Extracted ion profiling and identification of specific compounds or classes of compounds described herein can facilitate the identification of an ignitable liquid in the extract by reducing interference by components generated as products of pyrolysis.


1.1 This test method covers the identification of residues of ignitable liquids in extracts from fire debris samples. Extraction procedures are described in the referenced documents.

1.2 Although this test method is suitable for all samples, it is especially appropriate for extracts that contain high background levels of substrate materials or pyrolysis and combustion products. This test method is also suitable for the identification of single compounds, simple mixtures, or non-petroleum based ignitable liquids.

1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.4 This practice cannot replace knowledge, skill, or ability acquired through appropriate education, training, and experience and should be used in conjunction with sound professional judgment.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E30.01
Pages: 16
DOI: 10.1520/E1618-19
ICS Code: 13.220.99