Local News

NC Gets More Arson Detection Dogs

Posted November 14, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— In response to a recent series of suspicious fires, the State Bureau of Investigation has doubled its force in a highly specialized area. Until Friday, there were only two arson detection dogs for the entire state, but now, there are some new K-9 investigators who are ready to fetch clues.

One new SBI recruit only needs to hear one word and he springs into action. It's just a test, but Joel, the flammable accelerant detection dog, shows why the top dogs at the bureau are glad he's here.

Joel is led by a cluster of cans. Each can has the remnants of something burnt in it, but only one has a trace of gasoline.

It doesn't take Joel long to figure out which one. Special Agent Ernie Bueker says arson is Joel's game.

Humans had a lot of work to do when a suspicious fire gutted the old Hope Valley School in Durham County. Investigators eventually solved that arson case, but now, some furry, four-legged fire investigators are available to do the work for departments all over the Triangle. Raleigh's District Chief Tommy Ann Styons says they can use the help.

Joining Joel in the Arson Dog ranks is Cassidy. The two law enforcing labs are the first to be trained in North Carolina. They're ready to collar criminals, and they work for next to nothing.

While the arson dogs work cheap, their overall cost is also very reasonable. Agents can buy, train and get them into the ranks for about $1,000 per dog.