Arson dog investigates Middletown church fire

Middletown’s fire canine officer was used for the first time to help investigate a church fire that was ruled arson.

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Scottie, an accelerant detection canine officer, worked the fire at Tytus Avenue Church of God, 3300 Tytus Ave., according to Jeff Spaulding, deputy chief of the Middletown Division of Fire.

The canine did not detect any accelerants used to start the Jan. 22 that caused $450,000 in damages, according to Spaulding. He said there were plenty of paper products in the church office to start a fire without anyone needing accelerants.

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Spaulding said he expects the damage estimate to rise substantially as the investigation continues.

Because of his keen sense of smell, Scottie can detect 15 different possible accelerants used in a fire faster than humans or traditional equipment, according to his handler, firefighter Chris Klug. He has also been trained to detect accelerants even days after the fire started.

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