Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has a paw-some new recruit – Loki the apprentice fire investigation dog.
The pup has been drafted in as an apprentice to Reqs, who is one of the UK Fire Service’s longest serving fire investigation dogs, with a string of successful cases to his name.
After a decade of faithful service, Reqs will soon be putting his paws up and letting Loki – named after the famous Marvel character – take over.
Just like his more experienced colleague, beautiful black Labrador Loki underwent a rigorous vetting and selection process, ensuring the right temperament and skills for this highly specialist work.
The youngster will be using his super-human powers to sniff out the causes of fires, and is one of only 16 fire investigation dogs in the country who is specially trained to detect ignitable liquids, commonly referred to as accelerants, which include liquids such as petrol, white spirit, and lighter fluid.
During his impressive career in the fire service, Loki’s predecessor Reqs has provided evidence from fire scenes resulting in a combined total of over 250 years of imprisonment for convicted offenders.
Reqs have not only proved to be an asset to the communities of Hertfordshire but much further afield, assisting other fire and rescue and police services across East Anglia and beyond.
During his working life, he has attended in excess of 500 fires.
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Proud handler, Nikki Harvey, Arson Liaison Officer for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are delighted to welcome Loki into the fire service to continue Reqs’ sterling work. Despite being only three months old, Loki is already showing enormous potential and is progressing really well in his training.
“I’m sure he’ll follow the lead of Reqs, who is held in such high esteem by all who meet him and are fortunate to see him at work, especially children. We have every hope that Loki will be another great asset to the fire service, as well as a fantastic role model for the younger members of the community.”
Sadly, Hertfordshire’s most recent fire dog recruit Thor passed away in November due to medical issues. Computacenter UK, who have sponsored Hertfordshire’s fire dogs since 2000, wanted to remember Thor as they chose a new name for the fire pup.
Clare Rafferty, Head of Corporate Events at Computacenter said: “We believe the name we chose is certainly fitting as Loki is the adopted brother of Thor. While Loki is the master of mischief, we have no doubt that Loki will proudly follow in Thor’s shoes, and with that little mischievous twinkle in his eye, he will be an absolute asset to the fire service.
“Computacenter are again very proud to sponsor the fire service dogs and look forward to following Loki’s journey as he trains to become a fully-fledged member of the fire service.”
Councillor Morris Bright MBE, Hertfordshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Community Safety, said: “We’re very excited about the appointment of Loki, whose crucial work will involve using his superior sense of smell and donning his protective boots to search fire scenes when the area has completely cooled down.
“This vital work assists fire investigators to establish the origin and cause of fires to determine if a fire is deliberate and the evidence that he provides is crucial in securing convictions for arson cases. We’re very hopeful that Loki will be just as pivotal as Reqs in helping secure evidence for arson convictions and custodial sentences given to convicted arsonists.”
As well as being critical to a number of high-profile investigations including numerous fatal fires, murders and attempted murder investigations, one of Reqs’ biggest highlights was locating a dog trapped in the debris of a house explosion.
Nikki added: “In February 2014 we assisted our colleagues in Essex Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of a house explosion, attending two days after the blast. While Reqs was searching the remains of the house, we were alerted to the sound of a “whimpering” type noise.
“Reqs immediately located the area where the noise was coming from and to my absolute astonishment, I could see a dog’s head amongst the debris. My fellow fire investigator and I cleared the rubble around her and out of her popped the head of a four-year-old border Collie called Carryad. ”
The distraught dog was coaxed out with some dog treats and was found to be suffering from dehydration and a cut to her leg, which was relatively mild considering the enormity of the explosion.
Nikki said: “Locating trapped persons and animals isn’t something that Reqs is trained to do as that isn’t part of his role but I think that his dog instincts kicked in that day and he managed to find her and alert me to her whereabouts. Without him being there that day, I firmly believe that she may never have been found alive, so I am so proud of him.”
You can follow the service’s new superdog Loki by accessing his social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @hertsfiredog