|Original Airdate||February 1, 2001|
Fahrenheit 932 is the twelfth episode of season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Grissom, Sara and Warrick try to clear a man accused of killing his wife and son in an arson fire when he reaches out to Grissom from behind bars. They discover that Day Shift Supervisor Conrad Ecklie did some sloppy work on the case. Meanwhile Catherine and Nick investigate the death of a teenage 'runner', who was shot at close range.
Grissom receives a video from Frank Damon, an inmate awaiting trial for arson and the murders of his wife and son. He insists on his innocence and asks for Grissom’s help. Brass tells Grissom that eyewitnesses saw Damon running from the burning house. Accelerant was found in the master bedroom, and a receipt showed that Damon had recently bought gasoline. Catherine notes that Ecklie worked this case several months ago, and found no compelling evidence to suggest that Damon was wrongfully charged.
At the prison, Grissom meets with Damon and asks about the fire, and Damon tells him that he went to the store that night. He returned in 20 minutes and saw smoke coming out of the back of the house, so he went to his car and called for help. His work as a volunteer firefighter had taught him not to open the door because of flashover - at 932 degrees Fahrenheit, smoke will ignite. Damon says he does not know how the gasoline got in his room. He puts his hand up to the glass and Grissom sees that it is burnt; Damon says he does not remember how he got it, but Grissom is skeptical.
Grissom goes to Damon’s house with Sara and Warrick. Grissom says that the fire was contained in the bedroom, but the outside of the door frame is burned. Grissom finds a narrow V-pattern on the wall of the bedroom closet, confirming Ecklie’s report that this was the origin of the fire and indicating that the fire was intense and rapid. He also finds melted shards of glass at the apex of the V. Evidence suggests that an accelerant was used, but that it was not spread around, as one would expect to find in an arson.
At the lab, Ecklie angrily defends his handling of the arson case and declares that Damon is guilty. Grissom and Sara realize that the burn marks on the bedroom door indicate that someone did indeed open the door.
Grissom returns to the prison, confronts Damon with the evidence from the door, and matches the burn on Damon’s hand to the door knob. Damon breaks down and admits that he opened the door. He is filled with grief, because as a firefighter, he should have known better, and he blames himself for letting loose a monster fire that killed his family. Grissom tells him that carbon monoxide killed them, not the fire, but wonders if Damon is lying about anything else.
Warrick and Grissom return to the Damon house, where they find a high voltage heater from the bedroom. They check the wires in the bedroom and find evidence that the heater overloaded and started the fire. However, Grissom and Damon still cannot explain the accelerant in the closet. Sara reasons that the conclusion of gasoline is the receipt rather than any physical evidence of gasoline. She speculates that the hydrocarbons in the closet could be something else. Sara and Grissom return to the Damon house to gather more evidence but find that Ecklie sent a cleanup crew to the house.
Grissom visits Damon again in the prison and questions him one last time; Damon finally tells the whole story. He says that that night, he and his wife argued, she threw things at him, and he left the house to cool off. Grissom asks specifically what she threw at him, and Damon remembers that she threw a kerosene lamp at him; Grissom tells Damon that the space heater caused a spark in the overload, which ignited the kerosene and started the fire.
In a parking garage, Nick and Catherine examine the body of a young male with a gunshot wound to the head, sitting in the front seat of a car. Catherine speculates that the killer waited for him in the back seat. Nick finds something in the victim's ear, and thinks it is a hearing aid. They find condensation on the rear window and a ticket saying "Giants -9," written by Teller 12. At the casino, Teller 12 tells them that the victim was a runner; Catherine says he was only 16 and comments that this is illegal.
Catherine talks to Mrs. Hillman, who identifies the boy as her son Joey. She is initially confused by the hearing aid but quickly realizes that Joey used the earpiece in his job as a runner and becomes angry at her older son Danny for pulling Joey into “that racket.” Mrs. Hillman then brings Danny to the lab, and he gives the CSIs the frequency for the earpiece.
Nick and Catherine ask Warrick about runners; he tells them that they make good money and each have their own routes. He adds that runners would kill each other for a good route. When tests show that the condensation from the car window is nasal mucus, the other runners in the area are brought in for testing; however, the mucus does not match any of them.
Nick returns to the casino to further question Teller 12 and notices the fancy watch that the teller is wearing. The teller tells him that today is his last day, as he has a new job, and sneezes. Nick realizes that Teller 12 killed Joey, and that the new job is Joey’s runner route.