Cpl. Travis Godeau with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office stopped by with his K-9 Bono to walk us through exactly how they protect and serve Acadiana.
“[Bono] is trained for hydrocarbons and any type of liquid ignitables like gas, diesel, paint thinner charcoal lighter, lighter fluid, acetone,” says Godeau. “That’s what he is trained for.”
The team showed us how Bono puts his nose to work by placing scent markers in locations around the newsroom. Godeau says that Bono and his other K-9 counterparts are an asset to the Fire Marshal’s Office, helping them to detect what their human handlers can’t see.
“He’s a tool that we use to see,” says Godeau. ” If I walk into a house fire and I smell something, I’ll go run him up.”
Louisiana State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning says that when investigators are looking through charred debris finding the source of a fire can be a difficult task. The K-9s play an important part in locating those accelerants that may be the cause of the fire.
“When a dog starts showing interest in a really damaged area, then the handler knows that that is probably the source of the fire,” says Chief Browning. “His investigative skills play off of that dog’s instinct.”
And although it may be work for Bono, his enthusiasm for the job makes it seem more like play.
“All he wants to do is play,” says Cpl. Godeau. “Sometimes I wonder if he is actually looking for the odor or if he is just looking for his toy just to play tough.”
The dogs are trained to do their jobs and do them well. Just recently the K-9s participated in recertification tests at the North American Police Dog Work Association conference in Dallas. Several of the Fire Marshal’s Office K-9s took top prizes at the conference.
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