Wheeling Fire Officials Speak to Patriot Forensic Science Students

Wheeling Park High School students had a very interesting discussion today with members of the Wheeling Fire Department.

 Students in the Forensic Science Honors classes of teacher Janette Joseph heard from guest speaker Lt. Clint Landis from the Fire/Arson Investigation Unit. He served as the main speaker to my students in Forensic Science Honors. He was accompanied by Chief Jim Blazier and Capt. Toby Bachman of the WFD’s Bureau of Fire Prevention and Inspection.  

 The main purpose of the discussion was to introduce students to the "real world" application of principles they have learned during a unit on Forensic Investigation of Fire. Landis also discussed how he processes fire scenes and the methods he uses to determine the cause of a fire. Those include the use of the accelerant-detection canine he has worked with for the past six months. He discussed particular cases including one in which he determined the cause of a fire by sifting through two feet of debris to find the remains of a lighter.    

Students were given the opportunity to ask questions of Landis and were very interested to hear about specific cases that he had worked on in the area.  

 “I felt that this was important for my Forensic Science classes because it allowed them to connect the ideas and knowledge learned in class to the world around them,” Joseph said. “Fire investigation has always been a hard unit to cover because it lacks the hands-on learning experiences that we can do with other units, like fingerprinting and blood spatter analysis. By having Lt. Landis in the classroom and talking about his work, the students gained that opportunity to see what they learn in class applies to real world forensic investigation.”