Jackson Co. fire investigators enlist dog to sniff out arsonists - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. fire investigators enlist dog to sniff out arsonists

Pike is an Accelerant Detection Canine and the Jackson County fire investigation team's newest member. (Photo source: WLOX) Pike is an Accelerant Detection Canine and the Jackson County fire investigation team's newest member. (Photo source: WLOX)
Pike and his handler, Fire Marshal Jeff Mattison II, will work as a team to investigate fires in South Mississippi. (Photo source: WLOX) Pike and his handler, Fire Marshal Jeff Mattison II, will work as a team to investigate fires in South Mississippi. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Jackson County now has a helping paw when it comes to sniffing out arsonists. Meet Pike. 

"He's a 11 month old Belgian Malinois," said Pike's handler, Fire Marshal Jeff Mattison II.

Pike is also the newest member of the fire investigation team in Jackson County. Pike and Mattison just got their certification.

"He's trained for ADC, accelerant detection canine, and he's also a tracking canine," Mattison said.

What that means is Pike can instantly determine if an accelerant like gasoline or acetone was used to start a fire instead of waiting on lab results. He can also be utilized for the search and rescue of missing persons.

"He's just a wonderful resource for everybody," said Mattison.

Jackson County invested $10,000 from its state fire insurance rebates to fund Pike's training. The county's emergency service director, Earl Etheridge, said he's happy to have him on board.

"I've seen a lot of technological advancements with electronic means, but the dogs are much better suited to detecting accelerants than the electronic devices. A dog just about never fails."

Etheridge says although Jackson County is around the national average when it comes to arson, having Pike around will speed up the process of fire investigations, help prevent insurance fraud, and make people think twice before lighting a fire.

"We're hoping to use him not only as a deterrent to stop arson in Jackson County, but also make him available to other surrounding counties," said Etheridge.

Pike is the only ADC dog in the region and the second known in the state.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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