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CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater Celebrates Arson Awareness Week


Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In honor of Arson Awareness Week, celebrated May 3- 9, 2015, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater recognizes the Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations for its work to reduce and solve arson-related crimes in Florida. The bureau’s work is bolstered by its team of arson detection K-9s that work alongside handlers to sniff out signs of arson on fire scenes. This year, Arson Awareness Week focuses on these highly-trained dogs and their unique abilities to detect accelerants commonly used to start fires.
“Our dedicated K-9 units have been instrumental in the arrest and prosecution of arsonists by fearlessly entering fire scenes to detect signs of arson,” said CFO Atwater.  “When natural ability meets highly specialized training, these dogs become a powerful weapon in the fight against this destructive financial crime.”
The bureau’s K-9 units include:
• K-9 Bailey and handler Travis Kincaid in Pensacola,
• K-9 Booker and handler Jeff Batz in Lake Wales,
• K-9 Fresca and handler David Young in Jacksonville,
• K-9 Penzy and handler Amelia Bowling-Hitchcock in Daytona,
• K-9 Brandon and handler Jayson Deese in Panama City,
• K-9 Ember and handler Ross Holt in Plantation, and
• Explosives detection K-9 Bella and handler Monty Taylor.
During fiscal year 14/15, which ends June 30, the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations has investigated 1088 incendiary, or arson-related, fires that represent a dollar loss totaling more than $14 million. These cases represent nearly 500 K-9 unit call-outs and 277 arrests for arson-related crimes. Arson detection K-9s have noses 100,000 more acute than a human’s and the ability to work an entire fire scene in less than hour, which allows investigators to perform better, faster and more efficiently than while working alone.
To report an arson-related crime in Florida, visit or call the Arson Tip Hotline 1-877-NO-ARSON.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).