Thanks to State Farm, the Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations have received two more heroes. Meet the two new canines investigating suspicious fires in the state – K9 Buffett and K9 Ruthie. They are accelerant detection canines, commonly called arson dogs, and are highly trained to sniff out evidence at fire scenes. The Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations will now have 7 certified arson dog teams in service. This is the 2nd largest arson dog unit in the country, just behind Illinois with 10 dogs.
Accelerant detection canines, commonly called arson dogs, are trained law enforcement dogs that are used to sniff out evidence at fire scenes. These canine heroes work alongside their human handler, identifying the cause of home or business fires, assisting in cold crime cases, and uncovering potential evidence in homicides.
Since 1993, the State Farm Arson Dog Program has placed more than 425 dogs in 46 states, three Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia. All accelerant detection canine teams are trained by Maine Specialty Dogs and certified by the Maine State Police.
“Arson dogs play an important role solving investigations and helping get these criminals off the street and behind bars: says CFO Jimmy Patronis, “Having canines strategically placed across the state reduces response times and helps our partners at the scene to collect crucial evidence. State Farm continues to be an outstanding partner in the fight against arson and Buffett and Ruthie will make excellent additions to our arson dog team.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 280,000 intentional fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year, with associated annual losses of 420 civilian deaths, 1,360 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage. The actual number of arson fires and the amount of property damage is likely much higher, as arson is an underreported crime. Arson dogs played a crucial role in determining the cause of many of these fires.
“We feel law enforcement officials should have every tool possible to combat this costly, and sometimes deadly crime,” said Aaron Ghanbarpour, Vice President of Agency and Sales for State Farm.. “These dogs enable investigators to do their job more efficiently and effectively.”
The new team of K9 Buffett and Detective Paul Snider will join the team of K-9 Booker and Detective Batz to investigate fires throughout the Tampa and Lake Wales area. K9 Buffett is a male yellow Labrador retriever. K9 Buffett was raised by Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, FL
K9 Ruthie and Detective Daniel Koehler will combat arson in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas. K9 Ruthie is a female yellow Goldador (Labrador x Golden retriever mix). K9 Ruthie was also raised by Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, FL. NOTE: K9 Ruthie trained in the 2020 arson dog class with Detective Mike Douglas for the State of Florida. Detective Douglas retired and K9 Ruthie trained again in the 2021 class with a new handler, Detective Koehler.
Florida has the second largest arson teams (9) in the country. Here are Florida Arson Dogs and where they serve.
- Cody McIntyre and K9 Rico – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Tallahassee, FL)
- K9 Commander Ross Holt and K9 Icy – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Plantation, FL)
- Matt Huffman and K9 Shay-Ley – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Jacksonville, FL)
- David Young and K9 Fresca – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Jacksonville, FL)
- Paul Snider and K9 Buffett – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Lake Wales, FL) – NEW TEAM
- Assistant K9 Commander Jeff Batz and K9 Booker – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Lake Wales, FL)
- Daniel Koehler and K9 Ruthie – Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations (Daytona Beach, FL) – NEW TEAM
- Joe Cox and K9 Camy – St. Lucie County Fire (Port St. Lucie, FL)
- Jason Revoldt and K9 Nessie – Orlando Fire Department (Orlando, FL)