Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service welcomes Arson Dog Scooby to its ranks

By City of Winnipeg   

News Hot Topics fire investigation K-9

May 6, 2024, Winnipeg, Man. – The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is excited to welcome Accelerant Detection K-9, or Arson Dog, ‘Scooby’ to the Fire Investigations Branch. His job is to sniff out and alert his handler to the presence of accelerants used to ignite or spread a fire.

“Scooby is certainly the cutest new recruit to the WFPS, but he’s also highly trained and ready to serve,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham. “His expertise in detecting accelerants will be invaluable in our fire investigations, reinforcing our commitment to protecting neighbourhoods and pursuing arsonists. Welcome to the team, Scooby!”

Acclerant Detection K-9s can process a fire scene a lot faster and more accurately than a Fire Investigator with a gas detector, saving resources and time, and decreasing Fire Investigator fatigue, an important factor when simultaneous fires occur. It’s expected that he will help investigate several hundred fires annually over the course of his career in Winnipeg.

“We see a high rate of fires in Winnipeg, so having Scooby as a member of our team really gives us a nose up on arsonists,” said Christian Schmidt, Chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. “Scooby will provide a significant advantage to our Fire Investigations Branch, providing advanced detection, allowing investigators to collect compelling evidence to assist Winnipeg Police Service and crown prosecutors with arrests and successful convictions. Scooby will also assist with public education and arson deterrence initiatives.”


Scooby graduated from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Canine Division Accelerant Detection program in Front Royal, Virginia, on April 26, 2024. His assignment with the WFPS came through collaboration with ATF Attaché to Canada at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.

“We are extremely grateful and proud to have the first-ATF trained Accelerant Detection K-9 in Canada,” said Scott Wilkinson, Deputy Chief, Fire-Rescue Operations and Training. “The WFPS has been fortunate to develop a relationship over the past several years with the ATF. An immediate concern was recognized by their agency, which led to this partnership to bring one of their dogs to Winnipeg.”

“On behalf of the ATF Canada office located at the U.S. Embassy Ottawa, I am pleased to congratulate Scooby and his handler as graduates of the 149th Accelerant Detection Class,” said Chris Taylor, ATF Attaché. “This is the first partnership of its kind between Canada and the United States. The ATF canines, working closely with their handlers and fire investigation agencies, are force multipliers in detecting accelerants when investigating fire and arson cases. ATF Canada and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and Winnipeg Police Service have been working closely for years and this will only serve to strengthen that relationship.”

There are currently 71 ATF-trained Accelerant Detection Dogs and handler pairs. ATF began training Accelerant Detection K-9s in 1984. The ATF program is available to local and state law enforcement or fire service agencies who meet various criteria and are willing to commit to a five-year memorandum of agreement.

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