SAN DIEGO—Four dogs throughout San Diego are certified to aid firefighters in finding accelerants used by arsonist, according to officials.
Only four dogs are specially-trained and put on a training exhibition Thursday in preparation for a fundraising event Saturday.
"In California there are probably 10 to 12 dogs and across the nation there's only about 400 dogs," said Troy Morrison, president with Fire K9.org. "So it's a very specialized group of individuals that handle these dogs."
The training is lengthy and fairly intensive according to Morrison who owns two specially-trained dogs himself.
"Training the dog takes about 18 to 20 weeks," Morrison said. "And then the dog and handler are paired together and their training is two to five weeks."
The exhibition Thursday took place in an abandoned lot in downtown San Diego. In it, a fraction of a drop of gasoline was put into an old, empty plastic cup. The dogs at the exhibition were asked to find the cup and time and time again they did.
Morrison, a former firefighter said the service these animals can potentially provide is valuable.
"They cut down the time an investigation takes because they're very quick at going through the different areas of the house and actually showing us where to find our samples," Morrison said.
According to their website, Fire K9.org is a non-profit organization with the aim to 'support and promote the use of professional independent canine accelerant detection teams on an international level.' The organization is fully funded by member dues, sponsors and donations.
Morrison has asked those interested in supporting the organization to attend their fundraiser Saturday night.
More information can be found at Fire K9.org.