Newark, OH, (June 13, 2013) The newest member of the Chillicothe Fire Department has a nose up on arsonists and is planning on using those skills to sniff out the causes of fires. The new investigator is accelerant detection K-9, Gunther. Gunther, a Labrador Retriever, and his handler, Arson Investigator Steve Gallagher recently completed the five week canine-accelerant detection school sponsored by State Farm Insurance® and certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
Gallagher and K-9 Gunther will be introduced at a news conference at 10:00 AM on June 13th at the Chillicothe Fire Department, 54 E Water St. Investigator Gallagher and Gunther will complete a demonstration of their skills and be available for interview and photos. The news conference will also include speakers from the Ohio Fire Marshals Office, City of Chillicothe, Chillicothe Fire Department, State Farm and Chillicothe Mayor Jack Everson.
The program is funded by State Farm Insurance Companies® and is available to fire departments and law enforcement agencies across the United States. Since its beginning in 1993, the program has placed more than 300 dogs in 44 states, three Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia. Three of those dogs are currently working in Ohio and are located in Cincinnati, Strongsville, and Warren, Ohio. Gunther is Arson Investigator Gallaghers second Arson K9 partner. His previous dog, Winchester served with him for eleven years and retired in 2011. Gallagher and K9 Gunther will serve the central and southeastern areas of the state.
The service that Assistant Chief Gallagher will be providing to the Chillicothe community is a tremendous tool for pursuing and preventing crime, said State Senator Bob Peterson. I am grateful to both State Farm for sponsoring such a unique training program and to Mr. Gallagher for choosing to utilize his ability.
In 2009, over 41,500 intentionally set fires were set in the United States causing over $792 million dollars in property damage and killing 170 civilians according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
We want to help support the efforts of the Chillicothe Fire Department to douse arson fires in the Ohio and put criminals behind bars, said local State Farm Agent Susie Natoli. The scope of arson goes beyond impacting insurance companies it affects the personal and financial well-being of us all. Training dogs to detect accelerants at fire scenes saves time and money in arson investigations.
A few years ago, investigators could spend days or weeks sifting through rubble at a scene. Today, with a trained dog, the work can be done in less than an hour.
The dog extends the capabilities of the investigator, said Jeff Creed, Chillicothe Fire Chief. The scent-discriminating abilities of a canine are better than any equipment we can take to a fire scene when arson is suspected. The canine will lead the investigator to the location of the accelerant, so the investigator can take a sample to the states crime labs in order to prove arson. While a valuable time and money saver, these teams serve as a pretty valuable deterrent to the crime of arson as well.
For more information about the Arson Dog Program visit the Web site at www.arsondog.org.
|Assistant Fire Chief Steve Gallagher|
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