Specialist fire dogs trained by South Yorkshire Police

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Two dogs trained by South Yorkshire Police have successfully passed the final test to become two of only 17 Fire Accelerant Detection dogs in the country.

Etta, a Labrador, and Aston, a Springer Spaniel, spent six weeks undergoing intensive training at the dog school based at Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield, and were tested on Thursday.

The fire accelerant detection training course was co-developed by South Yorkshire Police dog training instructor John Ellis, who also trained the two dogs.

He said: “The dogs are trained to detect flammable liquids that contains petrol at the scene of a fire that may have been used as an accelerant, to determine whether the fire may have been started deliberately.

“It is quite an intensive training course, but both Etta and Aston were excellent dogs to train and picked it all up with ease.”

Fire accelerant detection dogs must detect a planted accelerant when searching a section of open land, a building and a vehicle.

They must also be able to detect flammable liquids on clothing before they are set alight.

Etta and Aston have been paired with firefighters and will work for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.

Harry Morton, manager of South Yorkshire’s dog training school, said: “I’m really pleased we have been able to provide the training for the dogs to assist our emergency service counterparts and hopefully assist in detecting and reducing arsons.”