MEET ARCHIE - THE FOUR-PAWED FIREFIGHTER

PUBLISHED: 13:28 10 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 30 August 2017

Archie 4

Archie 4

© Tim Neale 2015 tim@idenna.com

For Archie sniffing out minute traces of accelerants is a game to be enjoyed

There's a new pup on the block at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service - Archie, the Service's Fire Investigation (FI) Dog.For Archie sniffing out minute traces of accelerants is a game to be enjoyed - and rewarded for.

Having recently completed his training, the 20-month old Cocker Spaniel will now be brought in to identify the cause of fires which are thought to have been the work of arsonists.

Archie has some pretty big paws to fill, taking on the role previously carried out by Nelson, the service's Springer Spaniel who passed away late last year. In addition to the day job, Nelson had a cult following on Twitter, with almost 4,000 followers.

Archie will also be getting to grips with social media, taking to Twitter (@Archie_FireDog) to help promote fire safety messages and give an insight into life as a FI Dog.

Archie lives with handler Watch Manager Mark Smith, who also trained and owned Nelson.

"Nelson was a popular dog and a great asset to the Fire Investigation Team, so naturally we were all shocked at his sudden passing," said Mark. "Archie has some big paws to fill, but he showed a natural ability during training and enjoyed search tasks."

Trained to identify minute traces of accelerants, Archie can detect a variety of substances, including petrol, paraffin, diesel, methylated spirits, acetone and BBQ lighter fluid.

When he picks up a scent of an accelerant at the scene of a fire, a sample of the material is then sent off for forensic analysis.

“To Archie, this vital work is a game,” explained Mark. “But it is well known that dogs have a sense of smell far superior than our own and that they can detect the presence of ignitable liquids with greater accuracy and speed than humans, or specialised detection devices brought to the scene.”

Follow Archie on Twitter @Archie_FireDog

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