DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - A canine named Nico is now helping with the investigation into what caused a Sunday night fire at the historic Ryan Chapel Methodist Church, which is located in the Diboll area.
"The canine is used for a tool to assist anybody that is investigating a fire to determine if an accelerant was used," Investigator Clint Williams said.
Williams and Nico travel over a large amount of Texas assisting with investigations. Williams said the dogs in the state program go through regular training sessions after being trained for the first several years of the dog's life.
"They are trained on 14 different odors that we use," Williams said. "They train on those monthly. Each one of the odors we do at least once if not twice."
Williams said the dogs are able to smell scents that humans cannot and that is what makes them important to the case.
"They have about 200 million scent receptors in their nose," Williams said. "We have about 2 million so they are able to smell a lot more than we are. The dog is a good tool to use on any fire investigation because the dog will be able to smell something that we can't."
Williams left the scene with a sample that Nico detected.
"It is important to know that getting a sample at a scene does not mean we will have an arson case," Williams said. "We have to have the sample tested and then do a little more before we know what caused the fire."
The fire at the church was reported Sunday night around 9:30 p.m. It is believed that the fire started in the back of the church. The church was considered a total loss.
Ryan Chapel was formed in 1866 and is considered the oldest Methodist Church in the county. The building that burnt down was the fourth version of the church. The church also held historical status.
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