WASHINGTON - A 3-year-old black labrador retriever is the newest addition to the D.C. Fire Department. Bandel is an arson dog working to discover the substances that cause fires in the District.
She was introduced Wednesday to one of the more than 360 arson dog teams in the U.S. and Canada trained by Marine Specialty Dogs.
Partnering with fire investigator/canine handler Lawrence Scott Wilson, Bandel is replacing Roo, who worked with Wilson for 10 years.
Fire officials say that trained dogs are more effective at detecting the cause of fires than mechanical instruments.
The dogs play a key role in determining the causes of an estimated 280,000 intentional fires reported annually in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
NFPA said the fires result in 420 deaths, 1,360 injuries, and $1.3 billion in damage each year.