Nessie, a two-year-old yellow lab is the Orlando Fire Department’s newest member of the Arson/Bomb Squad.
Her job is to find accelerants on a fire scene, like gasoline or other flammable materials. When Nessie smells signs of arson, the evidence can help fetch an arrest warrant or a conviction in court.
“We’re one of the only fire departments in Central Florida to have [a bomb squad] and that includes Nessie now,” said department spokeswoman Ashley Papagni. “Since we don’t have the same scent ability she does, she can sniff out accelerates, things that actually cause potential arson cases. To be able to identify those quickly — that saves us an immense amount of time in investigations.”
Meet Nessie, our newest Arson Dog. She's certified in detecting hazardous materials. With already one case under her collar - she sniffs out samples to put the firebugs behind bars. Welcome, Nessie! pic.twitter.com/sVMeWj6wix— Orlando Fire Dept (@OrlandoFireDept) May 23, 2018
Before her first day on the job last month, she completed a rigorous four week-long training certification in New Hampshire at the Maine State Police Canine Accelerant Detection School with Orlando fire investigator Lieutenant Jason Revoldt.
She already has one fire case “under her collar” as the department’s third arson canine and has big pawsteps to fill, according to the department.
“Our last dog, Jessie, had a 100 percent conviction rate when it came to cases,” Papagni said.
It takes a canine about 30 minutes to cover an entire fire scene, a task that would take humans days to accomplish.