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Loki, a three-month-old black Labrador, joins Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as fire investigation dog



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Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's new canine recruit has been named Loki.

The three-month-old black Labrador pup has been drafted in as an apprentice for Reqs, one of the UK's longest-serving fire investigation dogs.

After 10 years of faithful service, Reqs will be winding down his duties once Loki – named after the Norse god and Marvel movies character – is fully trained to use his superpowers to sniff out the causes of fires.

Herts Fire and Rescue Service's fire investigation dog Reqs and his apprentice Loki
Herts Fire and Rescue Service's fire investigation dog Reqs and his apprentice Loki

Just like his more experienced colleague, Loki underwent a rigorous vetting and selection process, ensuring the right temperament and skills for this highly specialist work.

He is one of only 16 fire investigation dogs in the country specially trained to detect ignitable liquids – commonly referred to as accelerants – which include liquids such as petrol, white spirit and lighter fluid.

During his career, Reqs has attended more than 500 fire scenes and provided evidence resulting in a total of over 250 years of imprisonment for offenders.

Former Sawbridgeworth mayor Cllr John Burmicz meets Reqs the fire dog and his handler Nikki Harvey at an open day
Former Sawbridgeworth mayor Cllr John Burmicz meets Reqs the fire dog and his handler Nikki Harvey at an open day

Handler Nikki Harvey, arson liaison officer for HFRS, said: "In February 2014 we assisted our colleagues in Essex at the scene of a house explosion, attending two days after the blast. While Reqs was searching the remains of the house, we were alerted to the sound of a whimpering type noise.

"Reqs immediately located where the noise was coming from and, to my absolute astonishment, I could see a dog's head among the debris. My fellow fire investigator and I cleared the rubble around her and out popped the head of a four-year-old border collie.

"Locating trapped persons and animals isn't something Reqs is trained to do, as that isn't part of his role, but I think his dog instincts kicked in that day. Without him being there that day, I firmly believe she may never have been found alive, so I'm so proud of him."

Nikki added: "We're delighted to welcome Loki into the fire service to continue Reqs' sterling work. Despite being only three months old, Loki is already showing enormous potential and is progressing really well in his training.

Thor and Reqs (55234917)
Thor and Reqs (55234917)

"I'm sure he'll follow the lead of Reqs, who is held in such high esteem by all who meet him and are fortunate to see him at work, especially children. We have every hope that Loki will be another great asset to the fire service as well as a fantastic role model for younger members of the community."

Hertfordshire's most recent fire dog recruit, Thor, died in November due to medical issues. Computacenter UK, which has sponsored Hertfordshire's fire dogs since 2000, wanted to remember Thor when Loki was named.

Clare Rafferty, head of corporate events, said: "We believe the name we chose is certainly fitting as Loki is the adopted brother of Thor. Whilst Loki is the master of mischief, we have no doubt that Loki will proudly follow in Thor's shoes and, with that little mischievous twinkle in his eye, will be an absolute asset to the fire service."



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