New Haven's had a wave of suspicious car fires so it's only fitting that dogs learning to detect accelerants were working on Tuesday afternoon on burned out vehicles.
The animals come from state police forces in Connecticut and nearby New England states.
Thirty years ago this month, the first accelerant-detecting dog in Connecticut was trained here in New Haven.
"And I was one of the first trainers that was assigned to do that task," Jim Butterworth, a retired state police sergeant, said. "Dogs are amazing. Anything that possesses an odor a dog can find. Our biggest thing was trying to figure out how to apply that to a fire scene. That was the biggest challenge we had."
Now when local fire marshals face the challenges of an arson case, they can call in the dogs from the state police.
Say the suspicion is that the owner set the car on fire because it's not worth the loan payments. The dog can help detect if what's supposed to be internal combustion was external.
"It's a great asset to have, it's another set of eyes, another set of ears and it's definitely beneficial," New Haven Fire Marshal Robert Doyle said.
Besides dogs, Doyle said what's helping in New Haven is the city government's decision to fully staff his office with 11 people. The result is more arrests and closed arson cases.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com