FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 30, 2015

Division of Fire Safety Has Four Good Reasons to Recognize Arson Awareness Week

This Year’s Theme is "Accelerant Detection Canines (ADC) – Sniffing Out Arson"



TRENTON, NJ - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman today announced that "Ashes," "Scout," "Titan," and "Torch," the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Arson Unit dogs, take the spotlight for this year’s National Arson Awareness Week theme: "Accelerant Detection Canines (ADC) – Sniffing Out Arson." The dogs are part of the national contingent of accelerant detection dogs deployed in the fight against fires of suspicious origin which lead to arson investigations. The NJ Division of Fire Safety’s Arson Unit joins with local arson canine teams in New Jersey to use the week of May 3rd through May 9th to focus on the value and contributions accelerant detection dogs make to fire departments, law enforcement agencies and their communities.

Dogs are firmly associated with firefighters, beginning with the Dalmatian, seen traditionally with horse drawn apparatus. However, in recent history, "Mattie," a Labrador retriever became in 1985 the first to be trained by the Connecticut State Police and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to use a dog’s incredible sense of smell to detect a variety of ignitable liquids. The canine force has now grown to encompass a national contingent of specially trained arson dogs.

"The Division of Fire Safety’s Arson K-9 Unit continues to play an important role in identifying arson and the scourge it represents in communities across our state," said Department of Community Affairs Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman. "I’m pleased that "Ashes," "Scout," "Titan," and "Torch," and all canines that assist in the fight against fire, are being recognized during Arson Awareness Week for their work in the origin investigation of fires and explosions."

The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety is pleased to partner with the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the State Farm Arson Dog Program, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the International Association of Arson Investigators; the National Association of State Fire Marshals; the National Volunteer Fire Council; the National Fire Protection Association; the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud and the Insurance Committee for Arson Control to announce the theme for the 2015 Arson Awareness Week: Accelerant Detection Canines — Sniffing Out Arson.

"Our dogs are especially important to our Arson Unit and are a vital link in the chain of evidence necessary to establish criminal intent and successfully prosecute instances where a fire has been found to have been intentionally set," said William Kramer, Jr. Acting Director and State Fire Marshal.

The dogs assist in closing arson cases and act as a deterrent resulting in a reduction of the arson problem.  The dogs can cover an entire fire scene in 30 minutes which could take an investigator an entire day. An accelerant detection canine locates more accurate evidence samples reducing the amount of costly analysis by the laboratory. Therefore, the dog saves the department and community both time and money.

Nationwide there were about 17,400 intentionally set fires in homes each year during 2010-2012. These fires caused 275 deaths, 800 injuries and $513 million in property damage and loss. During this same timeframe, there were 9,000 intentionally set fires in commercial buildings. These fires resulted in $282 million in property damage and loss.

The Division of Fire Safety’s Arson K-9 unit is responsible for conducting origin and cause investigations of fires and explosions that occur in any municipality where the Division is the fire code-enforcing agency. In addition, this unit has the primary responsibility for fires in any owned, leased, or occupied state facility. The unit also has the statutory responsibility to investigate any serious injury or fatality that occurs to a firefighter in the line of duty.

For more information about the DCA’s Division of Fire Safety, visit





Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055