Fire Investigation Dogs
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) are one of a handful of services within the UK to employ the services of their own fire investigation dog team.
The dogs are used as a tool to search cold, post-fire scenes for the presence of flammable and ignitable liquids that could have been used to start or promote fires deliberately.
About our current fire investigation dog - Archie
Archie (Archie of Ashbourne) is a Cocker spaniel who was born on 15 May 2014.
Archie has a special dog van that is RSPCA approved as he is a working dog. Like other dogs he requires vaccinations and Mark makes sure they are up to date. Archie is microchipped and his details are updated when necessary. The operational fire boots Archie wears for training and fire investigations protect his paws from glass, sharps and hotspots that still may remain after a fire.
Archie's training helps him to identify minute traces of accelerants. He can detect a variety of substances, including petrol, paraffin, diesel, methylated spirits, acetone and BBQ lighter fluid. When he picks up a scent of an accelerant at the scene of a fire, a sample of the material is then sent off for forensic analysis.
Archie is Cornwall’s fire detection dog who loves to use his 'Paw Phone' to tweet about his role in the fire service, his love of tennis balls and all things animal related. Archie has a wide following of other tweeting dogs, which will often have you howling with laughter. Archie gives an insight into his role in the fire service and what it's like being Cornwall's number one sniffer of ignitable liquids. View his account at: @Archie_FireDog
About our current fire investigation dog - Woody
Woody is a Cocker Spaniel who was born on the 27 April 2015.
Woody travels in a special dog van that is RSPCA approved as he is a working dog. Like other dogs he requires vaccinations and Mark makes sure they are up to date. Woody, like Archie is microchipped and his details are updated when necessary. The operational fire boots Woody wears for training and fire investigations protect his paws from glass, sharps and hotspots that still may remain after a fire.
Woody has recently passed his certification at the Fire Service College and impressed the Independent Accessor with his good control, pace and enthusiasm.
Woody will now join his co Fire Investigation dog Archie to identify the cause of fires which are thought to have been the work of arsonists. He’ll also be getting to grips with social media, taking to Twitter (@Archie_FireDog) to help promote fire safety messages and give an insight into life as a FI Dog.
You can view his Twitter account at: @Archie_FireDog for regular news, updates and safety messages.
Previous fire investigation dogs in Cornwall
Nelson was a Springer Spaniel and was bred for life as a gundog however he did not achieve the required standard for a future field trial champion and Clive Gregory acquired him to train as a Hydrocarbon Detection Dog. This training started when Nelson was 9 months old and continued for 3 months.
Nelson was collected by his handler Watch Manager Mark Smith when he was 13 months old as Mark needed two weeks to get to know Nelson and his character first before they both completed their training as Fire Investigators.
Following this training they successfully completed their first certification at the Fire Service College. Mark and Nelson have worked on many different investigations around the South West.
Sadly Nelson passed away 21 November 2015 after a short illness.
Charlie was a Border Collie Cross Bearded Collie who was acquired by Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service from the Blue Cross animal welfare centre at Tiverton in Devon.
Charlie passed certification at the Fire Service College in April 2003. Since then he attended, along with his handler, Richard Gibbons, many incidents where the presence of flammable or ignitable liquids has been suspected.
Nelson was a German Shepherd Cross Border Collie who had been part of the fire investigation team in Cornwall FRS since June 1997. He retired from sniffing fire scenes in April 2005 after 8 years in that role and over 400 incidents.