CICERO, Ill. (CBS) – A rookie arson investigator on the job for just four months at the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office already has an impressive record.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Zoe, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, has worked 26 fire scenes since starting her job as an arson dog in May.
“Labrador retrievers are all-weather, all-purpose canines. They have excellent noses, and they’re also durable canines that can go through fire scenes,” said her handler, arson investigator Mitch Kushner.
Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis described her as “one of the best tools that we have for arson in the state of Illinois.”
“Zoe is a very special tool,” he added. “Probably is worth more than everybody in the State Fire Marshal’s office, because I think she’s insured for about $50,000.”
Kushner demonstrated how she can detect accelerants at a fire scene, using food as a reward.
“They’re never full, but they’re never starving, so what happens is that their brain and their stomach are in balance. Her stomach’s telling her head, ‘Hey, I’m going to go sniff for accelerants,” he said. “Right now she’s four for four, as far as finding accelerants.”
State Farm put up the funding for Zoe’s training.