Accelerant detection dog searches after San Jose fire

Tuesday an accelerant detection dog searched the rubble of a building that burned down in San Jose.
April 16, 2014 2:13:53 AM PDT
Investigators continue to comb the site of a weekend fire in San Jose looking for a cause and concerned that the blaze could have claimed victims.

At South Montgomery Street and Park Avenue accelerant K-9 units were used to investigate. On Wednesday, they will bring out cadaver dogs to verify that everyone made it out safely.

On Tuesday, "Roxy" an accelerant detection dog went to work. The highly trained K-9 and her handler are helping the San Jose Fire Department determine if any ignitable liquid, regardless of how faint, was present at the time of Sunday's fast-moving fire.

"So she's able to locate that exact location and her levels go to the drop of a pipe head is what she can detect," said Oroville Fire Investigator Marnie Gedney.

Tuesday's search was for fuels. Wednesday, the department will bring in a cadaver dog to make sure there are no human remains left in the rubble.

A heavy-duty excavator is one of the most important pieces of equipment being used at the scene. It can do the work of a dozen men in only minutes. The boom, stick and bucket attached to the rotating platform of the Catepillar 320-D, allows the operator to move the blocks of melted steel and charred wood that could be covering up key pieces of their investigation.

"[The K-9] can look for any areas she feels are important to her," said Gedney.

At its peak, more than 100 firefighters attacked the fire and the roof of the structure collapsed under its own weight. Sunday, fire officials said the plan was to go inside and look for possible victims, but that plan was stopped when flames and smoke drove them back.

For now, investigators are focused on their search.


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