Multiple Deaths Cause by a Fire in a Factory: Identification and Investigative Issues

Stefano Vanin, Vilma Pinchi, Viola Bartolini, Elisabetta Bertol, Martina Focardi, Francesco Mari, Ugo Ricci, Gian Aristide Norelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The article presents a case of multiple casualties following a textile factory fire. The incident required a full DVI team similar to large mass-disaster because of the specific operational aspects and identification difficulties. The autopsy results were consistent with death by fire and the toxicological investigations revealed carbon monoxide poisoning in four cases (HbCO% ranging between 88,05 and 95,77), two deaths by cyanide intoxication (with concentrations between 5,17 and 8,85 mcg/ml), and in one case there was a synergistic effect of the two substances (carbon monoxide and cyanide). The identification, carried out in accordance with INTERPOL protocols, encountered serious difficulties in the AM phase primarily due to a language barrier and the lack of any dental or medical information relating to the victims. Secondary identifiers proved to be very useful in corroborating possible identities. As a result of the combined efforts of a team of experts the identitity of each victim was determined and in all cases at least one primary identifier was used in the identification process. The deployment of DVI teams composed of forensic experts from different fields of expertise and well acquainted with DVI procedures, is essential in events involving multiple casualities that may also include foreign victims. The DVI team should intervene not only in PM examinations but also in the collection of AM data for those individuals not accounted for and by helping police in contacting families of missing people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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