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The Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) is centered upon an outdoor facility focused on research, teaching, and service regarding the decomposition of human remains. Construction of the state-of-the-art building began in 2012. The first human donation was received in 2013 and at the end of 2017, there were over 60 human donations, approximately 20 of which were in the donated human skeleton collection.

At 4,780 feet above mean sea level, the FIRS receives an average of 8.6 inches of rain with 60% humidity, creating an extremely arid environment. This, combined with the area's average of about 70% of days per year of possible sunshine, makes the environment considerably different than those found in other forensic research facilities.

The FIRS trains and works with students, law enforcement specialists, forensic scientists, and qualified researchers in many disciplines. The building contains a classroom and morgue with an up-to-date teaching facility, a cooler, and modern morgue equipment.

We are a research facility and do not conduct tours. Requests from qualified researchers to visit the FIRS will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Mission Statement

The Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) at Colorado Mesa University is a research, teaching, and service center that focuses on forensic taphonomy and related fields. The mission of FIRS is to learn and teach about the decomposition of human remains in the western Colorado environment. The service component of the facility is pursued in part by sharing the expertise at the Station with law enforcement, lawyers, coroners and medical examiner's offices, and others as requested.

Central to the FIRS mission is research on the decomposition of the human body. The body donation program is the keystone for this research, and FIRS would not be possible without the support of donors and their families. Confidentiality and sensitivity for body donors and their families is central to all FIRS missions.