Arson Dog to the Rescue!

arsondogA recent Claims Journal online article shares how an Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office is receiving arson investigation assistance from a trained Labrador.

Gaining popularity as an arson investigation “tool”, arson dogs are trained to sniff out trace amounts of accelerants such as flammable materials, gas, naphtha, butane, and kerosene. We’re talking amounts that machines cannot even detect!

A bit of context: On average, arson dogs can sniff out a large area in half the time it would take a person due to their keen sense of smell and their ability to cover a lot of ground – saving time and pure energy.

“Canine Units (arson dogs) have proven to be a valuable tool for seasoned fire investigators. They add an additional level of verification to the field observations conducted by trained fire investigators. I use the accelerant detection canines to validate the findings of a handheld electronic hydrocarbon detector and to assist me on where to take samples for submittal to a laboratory.”

Jeff Berino – Senior Fire Investigator, B.S., CFEI, CCFI, Pie Consulting & Engineering.

Claims Journal Excerpt: October 19, 2013: “Within seconds, the 16-month-old black Labrador found the first of several droplets of accelerant put down to showcase her talents. Already, she has helped her partner, Jeff Pride, sniff out crime. Pride has been with the State Fire Marshal’s canine team for more than eight years and Gemma is his third canine partner. His past K-9 partners, he said, have been instrumental in several Southern Illinois arson cases, most recently assisting in the conviction of two arsonists connected to 26 fires.

Gemma’s training was paid by a State Farm Insurance program available to fire and police across the United States and Canada. Since it started in 1993, the program has placed more than 300 dogs in 44 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, State Farm representative Greg Gurney said.
Arson is a particularly heinous crime in that it puts the lives of firefighters and the general public at risk,” Gurney said. “Each year arson is the cause tens of thousands of fires and causes millions of dollars of property damage.

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