The United States Fire Administration USFA, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, issued a report examining the characteristics of interior vacant building fires. An excerpt from the report reads as follows At a minimum, a search should be conducted to confirm the presence of entrapped occupants, as well as provide a means to detect smoke during fire and to evacuate firefighters if necessary. A search should be done in a vacant building to confirm the existence of trapped occupants, as well as to evacuate firefighters if necessary.

In this excerpt from the report, the author states that while the activity type has been identified, the exact method of detection is not documented. The author uses the word suspicious to describe a fire that appears to be under control, but which turns out to be more mundane. What is suspicious is not the fire itself, but the conduct of the fire crew. Here is an excerpt from the report, From the information obtained during this investigation, it was determined that the majority of vacant building fires are caused by an electrical malfunction or other short circuit that causes the fire to spread to other areas and into the homes and buildings around the building.

Approximately 40 percent of these fires are started due to electrical malfunction, and 60 percent are started due to other type of fire.

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