ILLINOIS (WEEK) - Central Illinois has a new accelerant detection canine, or arson dog, working for the Illinois Fire Marshal's Office.
Arson dogs are an excellent tool for when fire investigators need to quickly locate potnetial evidence.
On Thursday, 10 Illinois accelerant detection canine teams conducted their annual certification virtually across the state.
All of the teams were trained through the State Farm Arson Dog Program, including Central Illinois' K9 Kit.
K9 Kit's handler is arson investigator Shane Arndt, who has been a K9 handler for 18 years. K9 Kit is Arndt's fourth four legged companion.
K9 Kit will be replacing K9 Mazy who recently retired.
"Mazy was a lot more energy. She was a lot more wild and free and as she's aged you can kind of see her slowing down and just becoming older like the rest of us. We went and got Kit. When she was introduced to Mazy they got along fine, had no issues with Kit getting along it pretty much took off. About a year ago I put down my second K-9 Rusty, and it seemed like Mazy was kind of mourning the loss and being home by herself for a little bit. And when I got Kit they just seemed to hit it off like sisters. She perked up like a 2 year old again. It also keeps Kit moving around. So, it worked out pretty good"-Shane Arndt
The full list of Illinois Dog Teams that were certified Thursday include the following:
- Mitch Kushner and K9 Gigi - Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (Chicago area)
- Shane Arndt and K9 Kit - Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (Eastern and Central Illinois)
- Jeff Pride and K9 PJ – Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (Southern Illinois)
- Kenny Arnold and K9 Gunny – Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (Southern Illinois)
- Michael Kuban and K9 Phantom – Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (Chicago area)
- Bobby Joe Brown and K9 Sasha – Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (Western Illinois and Springfield area)
- Greg Vespa and K9 Ross – Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office (East St. Louis area)
- Jack Barba and K9 Zoe – Bensenville Police Department (Bensenville, IL)
- Jeff Fabrizio and K9 Sadie – Belleville Fire Department (Belleville, IL)
- Jay Crippen and K9 Kermit – Carbondale Fire Department (Carbondale, IL)