K-9 helps sole suspicious fires
YAKIMA, Wash -- He is one of the youngest members of the Yakima Fire Department, has four legs and likes long walks in the park. No he's not a rookie looking a date, but Wesley, the department's Black Lab, and fire investigator extraordinaire.
Yakima has an abnormally high number of suspious fires. Two years ago, the department requested a specially trained dog from the ATF to help investigate possible arson fires. At the time, Wesley was a seeing eye dog, but was a little too curious for the stoic life of a guide dog.
"That works good for what he does," said Capt Jennifer Norton, Wesley's handler. "We don't want him to be aggressive,but a real go getter."
So he was plucked from the group and retrained by the ATF to sniff out accelerants like gasoline and kerosene. Today he is used about fifty times a year in investigations, and is an important member of the YFD. Wesley is one of only three specially trained dogs in Washington, and one of seventy in the country.
After about five years of service, Wesley will officially retire and go home with Capt. Norton.