BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – The Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office has a new tool to help solve arson cases.
Through a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency is now in charge of Roe, an accelerant detection K-9.
Christina Nelly is the dog's handler.
“If an accelerant was used, he’s sniffing it out, saying, ‘Hey, it's right here,'” Nelly said. “So we'll take samples and send them to the lab to determine if an accelerant was used in the fire scene.”
The dog just returned from training in Virginia at the ATF headquarters. It can detect dozens of odors under six different classifications.
The K-9 can even smell human scent and can look for accelerant on a suspect's clothing. This is only the second K-9 the agency has used. It usually relies on borrowing dogs from other agencies, which can take extra time.
Through the ATF partnership, Roe can be called to help surrounding counties and even on out-of-state investigations by the ATF.
The Fire Marshal’s Office said it is called to about 500 to 600 fires each year. About 25 percent of those fires are arson cases.