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2-year-old Labrador Is Newest State Arson Investigator


TALLAHASSEE -- The State Fire Marshal's Office has added its fifth accelerant K-9 team. Ace, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, and Investigator Karl Morgan were recently placed into service following extensive training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

The new accelerant team is assigned to the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations' North Region, which serves Jackson, Calhoun, Franklin, Liberty, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Madison, Suwannee, Hamilton, and Lafayette Counties.

Ace and Investigator Morgan's training was provided through a program underwritten by State Farm Insurance Company. State Farm has provided funding for numerous accelerant detection canines to be placed into service with fire and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. State Farm has not only provided the dogs in service in Florida but also replaced those that have retired.

At the academy, Ace learned how to sniff out petrochemical-based accelerants commonly used to start arson fires. Using dogs to detect accelerants at fire scenes saves time and money for fire investigators. When the dog alerts to the presence of an accelerant, the investigator can collect a sample to test and the evidence can be used in court.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is the law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin. Anyone with information about any suspicious fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON). Information also may be mailed to Arson Control, P.O. Box 1654, Winter Park, FL, 32790.