Dexter the Fire Investigation Dog has returned to the East Midlands with his handler Dave Coss.
Dave previously worked for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, before he retired as a firefighter. He is now back as a civilian for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, working across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire.
At incidents, Dexter and Dave work as part of the fire investigation team to find and locate ignitable liquids. They search fire scenes, suspects houses, clothing and vehicles.
Dave says “Our job is to prove the negative: Dexter will be called to confirm whether ignitable liquids are, or are not, present.
“When we attend an incident, the request comes in from Joint Fire Control. We’ll turn up at the job, kit Dexter out in his protective equipment, which ranges from boots to a chemical protection suit, and get an indication of what’s happened. We will then support anything that comes from the investigation, for example if a suspect has run into an open space we will search that area for further evidence.”
Protective equipment not only keeps Dexter safe, but it also maintains investigation scenes and helps protect Dave and his family at home. Asbestos, for example, isn’t an issue for Dexter due to the substance’s 15-year incubation period, but any spores remaining on his coat could be exposed to Dave’s family if he doesn’t take precautions.
Dave continues “Fire Investigation Officers still do the investigation, Dexter is simply another tool in their box. However, a trained dog’s findings can change an entire investigation. If the Officer needs to rule something out, Dexter will immediately indicate and show something we might not have seen otherwise. His findings help to link everything together.
“Dexter has been on the run since he was 13 months old, when we trained him alongside our previous fire investigation dog, Freckle. He’s a fifth generation working dog, so this job suits him to the ground.
“Now we’ve started at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service I’m most looking forward to getting Dexter out to scenes and working again, so he can continue to do what he does best.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mick Sharman says “we are really happy to have Dave and Dexter working across the region again. The skills they both bring to a fire investigation can make a huge positive difference, and they are an asset to any team.
“Dave has worked on some of the highest profile fire investigations in the East Midlands, and has shown his dedication to fire safety in numerous ways over the years. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service welcomes them with open arms.”