Tonight you're going to meet one of the best weapons South Dakota fire investigators have in their quest to determine how a fire started. It's not a piece of equipment. It's not any one specific human investigator. Instead, it is a specially trained dog.
For one hour every day...seven days a week....Maggie the fire dog is put through the paces. This constant training helps her sniff off different chemicals someone could use to start a fire. Doing this helps Maggie tells fire investigators if a specific fire was arson...or something else.
"She allows us to search a fire scene so much quicker, more quickly than we would if we just had to dig through every piece of rubble inside of a fire scene." Chris Konrad is Maggie's handler and an agent with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. The DCI received Maggie as a gift from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. You might not have known it, but Maggie proved her worth just last week when she sniffed out accelerant in a house fire on south Harrington Circle in Sioux Falls. "They will call for my dog and we'll go to the scene, we'll look at the scene and then we'll run through that scene to determine if there were any accelerants inside or outside of the structure."
Without a dog like Maggie, investigators could spend hours or even days working to determine if a fire was intentionally set. With Maggie, they can find out in about 10 or 15 minutes. And Maggie can get into nooks and crannies where humans can't. "They're kinda fearless in that way. They don't mind going into that environment and working."
Another interesting note: Konrad says dogs like Maggie has a different kind of nose. So once she smells a chemical, her nose essentially cleans it out so that chemical doesn't affect her health or well being.
Sunday, April 20 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-04-21 02:30:09 GMT
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