Many house fires will be accidentally started e.g. by carelessly discarded smoking materials, smoking in bed or attempting to cook etc whilst intoxicated. The pathologist should always consider whether there is any reason to suspect that the fire was started by a third party – to kill the deceased or another person, to conceal homicide or to destroy property.
Self-immolation is uncommon, and usually involves the use of an accelerant.
picture credit: Malcom Browne
Bodies recovered from burning vehicles are rarely due to accidents (unless they have burned as a result of a collision), and may represent suicide or homicide.
Source: Dumb ways to die (Metro Trains Melbourne public safety campaign 2012)