WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Fire Dog Monument, which now sits outside Fire Station Two in Washington, D.C., depicts - in bronze a firefighter and his canine companion poised and ready to work. The story behind the statue, though, lies in Colorado.
The National Fire Dog Monument is called "Ashes to Answers." The sculpture took nearly five years to make, and its creator is from Loveland, Colo.
Austin Weishel, 24, is a firefighter and EMT with the Windsor-Severance Fire Department.
The life-sized sculpted Labrador retriever and firefighter represent a specially-trained canine and handler, one who is trained to sniff for accelerants and can help declare a fire to be arson.
The monument honors all Certified Accelerant Detection K-9s (arson dogs). It was inspired by Colorado's first arson dog, Erin.
Her handler, Special Agent Jerry Means with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, commissioned the monument when Erin passed away in May 2010 from cancer.
The monument was completed in 2012. Wednesday, it was unveiled at Fire Station Two in Washington, D.C, in front of hundreds of police officers, firefighters, and their families.
Colorado firefighters and fire investigators have traveled across the country in the last year to raise awareness for the Arson Dog training program, sponsored by State Farm Insurance.
The program aims to train hundreds of dogs to detect arson, which costs billions of dollars a year in lost property.
Accelerant canine detection teams operate throughout the U.S. and Canada and assist fire investigators in locating possible accelerants (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) that may be used in fraud or arson cases.
Arson canine teams also speak to schools and youth groups about fire safety and about arson as a crime.
The NFDM is a nationally approved nonprofit.
For more information, visit: http://www.arsondog.org/
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