By Makenzie O'Keefe

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A renowned arson investigation team has left retirement to get back to work on some of the largest fires in the state. K-9 Riley and his handler Jerry Means now work at Adams County Fire Rescue, and their expertise and skill has them led them to the scene of several fires in the last few months.

K-9 Riley is trained to detect accelerants used in arson cases.

K-9 Riley is trained to detect accelerants used in arson cases. (credit: CBS)

“Riley is an investigative tool,” explained Jerry Means, Chief Fire Investigator at Adams County Fire Recue.

Riley is a black Labrador Retriever, who sports his own badge at work every day. He’s an accelerant detection K-9, and responds to fires to determine whether or not they are considered arson.

“He’s trained to look for flammable liquids that someone might use to start or spread a fire intentionally,” Means explained.

Jerry Means explains how he and his K-9 Riley help investigate arson cases with Adams County Fire Rescue.

Jerry Means explains how he and his K-9 Riley help investigate arson cases with Adams County Fire Rescue. (credit: CBS)

The pair has worked nearly 500 fires together. Most of those were with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which they retired from this past summer. Two days after retirement, they began working at Adams County Fire Rescue.

“I don’t think Riley was ready [to retire], and I have a few years left in me,” Means explained, smiling.

Nearly every day Means and Riley train, using drops of 50% evaporated gasoline. Means will place drops around the fire station, or even in the aisles of a store, and Riley seeks it out. On the scene of an actual fire, Riley stays in the truck while Means surveys the area. Once Means decides the scene is safe, Riley will get to work sniffing out accelerants that may otherwise go unnoticed.

“Fire investigators will go in and not see anything,” Means explained. “But with the dog, just by the sheer power of the nature of their noise, can go in and find physical evidence that we can’t see.”

When Riley finds the scent of gasoline, or other flammable liquids, he lets Means know by pointing with his nose.

Riley is a ACD K-9 through the State Farm Arson Dog Program, which funds his training. He’s one of only two arson dogs in the state. For more information, you can visit: arsondog.org.

Riley also has his own Facebook page with more than 6,000 followers. 

Makenzie O'Keefe

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