Sedgwick County’s first accelerant-sniffing dog helping in deadly Chanute apartment fire

CHANUTE, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County fire investigators responded to an apartment fire that left one person dead and numerous others injured and without a home.

The fire broke out just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday at the Cornerstone Apartment Complex, 1610 W. 4th Street in Chanute. The complex has 24 units, and all of them were occupied.

Sedgwick County Fire District 1 sent a team to help with the fire investigation. Investigator Rusty Vollintine and K-9 Benny assisted the ATF, KSFM and the Chanute Fire Department.

SCFD1 got the county’s approval to use K-9 Benny, its first accelerant-sniffing dog. K-9 Benny sniffs out flammable substances like gasoline that could be at the scene of a fire.

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SCFD1 Fire Marshal Bradley Crisp said that whenever there’s a fire with a person dead or injured or with a possibility of arson, an accelerant detection dog can be requested.

“It’s important to have a tool like this because it helps us do a better job. The canine is way more sensitive than us, and it can help us do a better job in identifying and collecting good samples in the event that we get to prosecute an arson,” Crisp said.

He says there are only two other accelerant detection canines in the state: one in Topeka and the other near Kansas City.

Crisp says if there’s a fire in Kansas, Sedgwick County will do its best to send their canine when it’s requested.

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