DAVIDSON COUNTY, NC (WGHP) — A new K-9 will soon be on the way to Davidson County to help their fire investigators.

County commissions just approved a K-9 Accelerant Detection Program to help not only Davidson County but the entire Piedmont.

“Now that the need has arisen to be closer to home as other programs retire out, we are looking to fill those shoes,” Davidson County Fire Marshal Danny Ward said.

Right now, Davidson County is forced to call in help from other K-9 Accelerant Detection programs at least two to three times a month.

“The closest one is Charlotte or Monroe…sometimes, it takes them an hour or two or more to get to us depending on if they are working other fires,” Deputy Fire Marshal John Webster said.

Webster hopes to become the first K-9 handler for the Davidson County Fire Marshal’s Office.

“As an investigator, why wouldn’t you want to use that? It’s one of the best tools you can have as an investigator,” he said.

It is also safer for the investigators. Instead of them putting their nose down in the fire debris, the trained dogs, often Labradors, will do that work for them.

The cost of the dog and training is covered by the ATF if they get approved. The supplies and equipment will cost about $10,000 a year for Davidson County. That would be something in the budget for next year.

“Having this opportunity to have an accelerant detection K-9 in our office is extremely important, and it makes me very excited,” Ward said.

Now that it has been approved by the county, the fire marshals will have to apply for the ATF program.

If that gets approved, the dog and handler will go through a six-week training. The fire marshals hope to have the new program up and running by Jan. 1.