Illinois State Fire Marshalls using dogs to help arson investigations

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Specially trained service dogs are helping fire marshals identify when a fire was started intentionally. 

These dogs are part of the State Farm’s sponsored Arson Dog Training Program. There are currently 100 of these dogs in North America and 9 of those are in Illinois. Service dogs like Sasha are trained to sniff out traces of gasoline or anything can be used to start a fire. 

The dogs are assigned to officials who investigate fires. Those officials said these dogs are vital to their jobs. 

“We may suspect that there’s an accelerant that’s been used. We may never find it without the dog. We have a general idea of where we may be able to look but I’m, sure there’s thousand of investigations that have been done that they never found the ignitable liquid that was used,” said Bobby Joe Brown, Special Agent at the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Arson Department. 

The officer and dog together have to complete 200 hours of training and from then on, where the handler goes the dog goes. 

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