NACOGDOCHES COUNTY ( KTRE ) - The command is given and in ten seconds flat, the job is over. An arson dog taken to a fire scene in Nacogdoches County quickly stops and stares at one location of a burned out house.
Saxon stopped where the home's front porch once stood. The spot is where a neighbor saw a fire at the same time Steve Skidmore was pulling out of the driveway from the home Tammy Gilbert lived. Saxon and his handler collect more evidence.
"He's a 4 year old German shepherd from the Czech Republic. I got him when he was about a year and a half old," said David Rieves an arson investigator and canine handler with the State Fire Marshal's office. "He's an accelerant detection canine. He's here to determine if there's any trace amounts of ignitable liquids or accelerants left at the fire scene."
The dog confirmed investigators suspicions. "It's just a piece of that puzzle that was missing that I felt was there," said Sgt. Danny Kitchens, an investigator with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Department. "It's just kinda a reassurance that is indeed what we suspected."
The soil is gathered for testing at the state lab. Right now investigators don't know what kind of accelerant the arson dog detected. Lab tests will determine that. Results should come in sometime soon after the holidays.
Meanwhile, the suspect is in jail for arson and not sharing any information at all to investigators.
Saxon gets to search for more evidence. Paint cans and a lawn mower don't provide enough interest, so Rieves lets Saxon return to the same corner. This time the dog detects the spot in only five seconds.
"He nails that one quick," commented Kitchens.
All in a days work, leaving plenty of time for the reward of play.