New Arson K9 joins the State Fire Marshal’s Office

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:28 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine Fire Marshal’s Office is welcoming a new arson K9 to the team.

Cheeto is a 2-year-old yellow lab.

He recently graduated from a four-week Arson Dog Training Program sponsored by State Farm.

His job is to fly onboard a forest service helicopter to a forest fire scene.

There, he would detect accelerants to help with investigation.

“We spend a lot of time with each other so we can learn some of his traits. He usually gives me a primary which is generally sitting down or laying down and pointing his nose or sniff. He would actually reach and sniff the area. He can be pretty specific, generally speaking,” said Andrew Whitney, Cheeto’s Handler.

“If we can get them to the scene in 20 minutes in a helicopter, they have a better chance of finding what we need for evidence and catching the people responsible. If they drive, it maybe three or four hours so the helicopter is a little bit of a luxury but it really saves time,” said Kent Nelson with Maine Forest Services.

He joins State Farm K9 Shannon and K9 Harry who is from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.