Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Fire dog investigates 100th blaze

CC with handler
CC, pictured with handler Nikki Harvey, is one of 17 fire dogs in the UK

A specially-trained dog which is used to investigate the cause of fires has been hailed for his skills after he visited his 100th fire scene.

CC the Labrador has helped to sniff out the cause of fires in Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, London, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire.

He has been trained to detect traces of flammable liquids and wears protective boots on his paws.

He is one of 17 such dogs in the UK and there are hopes the number will rise.

His handler, Nikki Harvey, has been working with CC at Hertfordshire Fire Service since July 2007 and the pair have regularly helped other fire services throughout the region.

She said he was trained to sniff out traces of liquids such as petrol, paraffin and lighter fluid, which can remain present even after the most severe fire.

Miss Harvey said: "CC has had an extremely busy first year in his working life as a fire investigation dog and he is certainly proving a real asset to fire investigators, assisting them in determining the cause and origin of fires.

"Working with CC is extremely challenging and rewarding, we have bonded strongly as a team, which is really important.

"Ongoing training is now part of CC's daily routine, as it is vitally important that CC remains competent in his work and that we are fully prepared to perform a search in any environment."

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