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Burnt in the Fire?
How to cite this article:TSN Murthy. Can the Volume of the Collapsed Warehouse Accommodate the Grains Said to be Stored & Burnt in the Fire?
. J Forensic Sci & Criminal Inves. 2020; 13(4): 555868. DOI: 10.19080/JFSCI.2020.13.555868.
A six stored building constructed in an area of about two acres in which ground, first & second floors were used for stocking paddy, pigeon pea/toor dal, gram grains/dal, rice & wheat. On a fateful day at midnight 02:45am, the night watchman noticed smoke billowing from the top floor. Immediately fire brigade was informed. It took 12hours for the fire brigade consisting of 10 fire tenders with 30 men to bring the fire under control. Due to the intensity of fire the iron rods in the RCC slab melted and caved in. The building housing the warehouse collapsed after a few days. The author was assigned the task of finding the quantum of loss. The quantum of loss of various commodities said to have been stored in the warehouse was evaluated and compared with the volume of warehouse as per records and found that the insured claimed almost double the quantity of commodities stored by him.
Keywords: Fire investigation; Burnt debris; Volume of grains
The insured purchased a six floored cold storage building, removed all the cold storage equipment & devices and was using it as a dry warehouse. As the structure was basically a cold storage, it had RCC roofing on the top sixth floor and the flooring of the remaining floors were made with wooden planks in between the wooden structure. The warehouse was rectangular in shape with length 140’ & width 120’, the area of each floor being 16,800sqft. The height of the ground floor was 10’ and heights of remaining five floors were 8’. The ground, first and the second floors were
stocked by insured with bags of paddy, pigeon pea/toor dal, gram grains/dal, rice & wheat. The remaining floors were given for rent to another party .
Most of the debris from the collapsed building was removed from the premises by the time the author visited for fire investigation. About one-foot thickness of burnt debris was found to be strewn throughout the premises  (Figure 1-4).
The author proceeded to another warehouse of the insured
where similar commodities were stored and took the dimensions
of paddy bags (85 kg), pigeon pea/toor bags (50 kg), gram grains
al bags (50 kg), wheat bags (50 kg & 30 kg) and rice bags (50 kg,
30 kg & 25 kg) and evaluated the volume occupied by the each
bag as follows (Table 1).
The insured submitted in a tabular form containing the
number of bags of each commodity said to be lost in the fire and
claimed a total of INR269,581,640/- (approx. US $3,850,000/-
) which is reproduced below (Figure 5 & Table 2): Basing on
the above data given by the insured, the total volume occupied
by the different commodities had been calculated and is given
The author had critically studied the layout and other
relevant records submitted by insured and after calculation
found that the total volume available for the storage of material
in the warehouse was 1,78, 500cft as against 3,01,049cft claimed
by the insured highly exaggerating the loss. Thus, the fraud of
the insured deliberately trying to secure unfair or unlawful gain