South Fulton County

3D scanner helps metro Atlanta police department investigate fire that killed 4 people

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — Investigators are using ground breaking technology to determine what caused a fire that killed four people.

The Faro 3D scanner has helped South Fulton police solve crimes faster, and for the first time it’s being used in a fire investigation.

As investigators uncover new information, the scanner allows them to avoid having to return to the scene of the fire to do tasks like taking measurements by hand.

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It makes the traditional way of investigating, such as hand-drawing a scene and taking photographs, a thing of the past.

Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes learned the forensic scanner shoots a laser out 70 meters from its base and collects millions of points of data.

The South Fulton Police Department bought it a few years ago and have used it in 90% of their homicide investigations since then.

Now it is being used in the investigation of the fatal fire that took the lives of four members of a South Fulton family on Oct. 19.


Firefighters said the rear of the home collapsed as the fire raged, possibly burying a 7-year-old girl and her grandmother.

“We were able to go out and do a whole scan of the house fire scene and that translates into being able to look at burn patterns, being able to measure those burn patterns easily,” said Lt. Helen Weathers with South Fulton Police. “It would take a lot longer if we had to do it by hand, write them down. Now they’re permanent within this final document.”

The scanner was originally created to assist in making prosthetic limbs. Now it has a multitude of uses.

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Police can also use it for security purposes, reducing the amount of time it takes to secure an area.

“In a few years, hopefully we’ll have the World Cup here in Atlanta. They can actually do a scan of our buildings and be able to do security assessments,” said Weathers.