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Arson K9s

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  • Arson K9s

    I was wondering if an arson canine would be able to pinpoint a lighter in an incendiary fire. Basically here is the situation, Friday night we had a structure fire that started in the back bedroom near an air mattress that a 2y/o child was sleeping on. Upon questioning the parents came 2 completely different stories about the situation and whether or not the child did indeed play with matches/lighters and or would. The father also stated that he had been missing a Zippo lighter. The child had burns on his hands ans fingers and small burns on his chest / face from when the the air mattress popped. Deciding to dive into this further, the State fire Marshall was contacted and through a little digging was able to find said lighter in the room of origin near the child's air mattress.

    Now in this situation as laid out does anyone who works with, and or trains K9s know if the dog would be able to pick up the scent given off by this lighter and fluid remnants left in it if any???

  • #2
    A dog is a tool, not a miracle worker. It is possible, though highly unlikely that there would be enough fluid on the outside of the lighter to enable a dog to pick it out of a pile of rubble. Nothing replaces good ol' brawn when examining a fire scene.

    I would, however, as an investigator, be way more concerned about a 2 YOA who is playing with matches. There is something else bad going on here. At a minimum, your state child welfare agency should have been notified. This is a case of child neglect. A 2 yoa with sol little supervision that they can steal a lighter and than play with it undetected is a real problem.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    • #3
      I'm an ADK9 handler. I agree that the chances of the dog alerting are slim, but it is possible, especially if the reservoir failed, but with the lighter fluid being so light and evaporating so quickly I would doubt it. I'm more concerned about a two-year old playing with matches or a lighter. I'm not even sure a two-year old child could even operate a lighter. Someone ain't tellin' the truth...

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