Cville Foundation Fundraising for Fire Department's Arson Dog
A black lab's sniffing skills are saving Charlottesville taxpayers thousands of dollars a year.
"Quaker" is the Charlottesville Fire Department's arson dog. Now, community members are raising money to make sure Quaker sticks around town.
Quaker has made a full-time job out of his special skills. The fire department says he assisted in over 100 fire investigations just last year – and he just passed an intense recertification class and is ready to get back to work.
Gasoline, diesel fuel, paint thinner, lighter fluid - you name it, Quaker can sniff it down. He can detect down to .1 microliters of evaporated gasoline.
"If you take an eye dropper and divide an eye dropper drop into 20 particles, he can find that one particle of that," said W.A. Hogsten, fire investigator and Quaker's trainer.
Quaker is doing what would take hundreds of man hours within seconds - detecting liquids that arsonists use to start a fire. He can sniff out and identify 32 compounds.
The Foundation for American Heritage Voices in Charlottesville has started a campaign to help pay for Quaker's expenses - like food and training equipment.
"We want you to be aware of what he's doing. He is a hero," said Marjorie Sargent, of American Heritage Voices.
Quaker just finished his recertification, which was an 8-week process. But Hogsten says the training isn't over once the class is. Hogsten works with Quaker several times a day.
Hogsten says, just recently, Quaker identified ignitable liquids in Charlottesville, which led to a conviction of an arsonist.
"That was a key component in prosecuting the case," said Hogsten.
Once Quaker finds a chemical compound, Hogsten asks if he's sure it's the right one and Quaker lies down next to it as a way to say yes.
If you're interested in donating to the Quaker fund, click here. You can also become an adoptive parent of Quaker - with a donation of $150, you'll get an official certificate and the chance to meet him in person.
Sign Up for Email Alerts
Sign up to receive NBC29 news and weather updates in your inbox daily.