P0121 - Case Study : Multiple Explosion on Chemical Plant by Improvised Explosive Device

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 Crime scene investigation

Forensic Department "Environment-Fire-Explosives"

Job title of the first author :

Forensic expert - Forensic Department "Environment-Fire-Explosives", IRCGN


July 2015, three petrochemical tanks are targeted by explosions. Containing between 15000 and 60000 m3 of naphta (hydrocarbon). Two arsons declared.

Aims :

On site investigation are made difficult with firefighter and EOD team work and classic risks on petrochemical plants : VOC, explosive atmosphere…
Tank nature and arsons compromise the recovery of explosive trace. However investigation carried outside and inside the three tanks reveal compounds used in IED manufacture. This compounds are similar on the three tanks.

Results :

Wires, battery fragments, adhesive, crocodile clip, timer, tension converter, evidences allow investigator to exclude accidental hypothesis. The improvised explosive device is rebuild by forensic investigator to estimate the IED weight and delay programmable with timer.

Conclusion :

Despite difficult conditions and absence of explosive trace on-site investigations lead investigators on a non-accidental hypothesis. Research can continue on specialised store which sell such timer, tension converter and battery.

Keywords :

Improvised Explosive Device, Multiple Explosions, Petrochemical Tanks


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