An arson detection dog and investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s office search through debris after an apartment fire in Lawrence, Mass., Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Two children died in the blaze. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire is getting a new investigator next year _ one with four legs and a keen sense of smell to help firefighters sniff out suspicious blazes.
Officials say the bureau will be getting an arson dog with the aid of a scholarship from insurance company State Farm. The dog will be trained in April 2018 in Concord, New Hampshire.
The “accelerant detection dog” will be trained to distinguish between scents at a fire scene and detect accelerants on property and people.
Fire Chief Darryl Jones said such animals are certified as expert witnesses, so prosecutors can use as evidence the fact that a dog alerted on a certain area.
Arson dogs in Beaver Falls, Allentown, Upper Chichester Township and Altoona were trained through the same program.