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Pound puppy turned arson dog finds fuel for SAFD

Arson investigator, K9 team investigate fires together

SAN ANTONIO - An arson dog recently joined the ranks of the San Antonio Fire Department.

Kai, which means "fire" in old Scottish dialects, is trained to sniff out gasoline, lighter fluid and other accelerants.

She got her start at an Illinois animal shelter. But now the pound-puppy-turned-arson-dog can find fuel faster than her human partner, arson investigator Justin Davis.

"Her badge number is my badge number. We're like one and the same," Davis said.

Kai lives and works with Davis. She goes everywhere he does, and even though he carries her treats, she carries her weight at a fire scene.

Recently she took about 30 seconds to find a fuel source at a two-alarm fire, he said.

"We dug out that area and found a melted gasoline container," Davis said.

Whatever Kai finds is sent to a lab for testing.

She has worked some pretty high-profile cases, like the fire set at a home on Karen Lane last year where a mother, daughter and roommate were found dead.

Davis said it's priceless work, but it does come at a cost.

State Farm Insurance trained Davis and Kai for free, but her food, vet bills and other expenses add up.

Those costs are not in the regular budget. Instead, the money has come from donations from donors such as Generations Federal Credit Union, USAA and Lincoln Heights Animal Hospital.

Davis hopes those donations continue, because Kai has found her home.

"It's sort of like adopting a child because you always have to know where they're at, that they have food, that they're safe," he said.

For a list of recent stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.

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