Police dog finds traces of accelerant in debris of Quincy Township home

Cause will be temporarily classified as 'undetermined' until results are available from crime lab

September 19, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

QUINCY, Pa. — A police dog has found traces of accelerant in the debris of a Quincy Township, Pa., home destroyed by fire earlier this week.

“He alerted in several sports for ignitable liquids,” said Jeff Sarver, a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal.

On Wednesday, Sarver said investigators packaged several samples to send to a crime lab for testing.

Firefighters were called at about 1:22 a.m. Monday to a blaze at 9456 Masters Road in the Gap area.

Initial reports indicated a person might be trapped inside the ranch-style house, but fire officials said that person was actually away from the property. Authorities did not say who lived there.

Waynesboro (Pa.) Fire Chief Dave Martin said a neighbor reported the blaze after hearing a popping noise and seeing the flames.


Sarver is working to determine where and how the fire started. He said electrical causes have been ruled out.

The cause will be temporarily classified as “undetermined” until results are available from the crime lab, Sarver said.

The trooper based in Chambersburg, Pa., praised the work of Cpl. Harold “Dutch” Rinker and the dog, Birko. The team traveled three hours in each direction Wednesday to join the case, making this their third collaboration in the area in recent years.

Despite heavy rain the day after the fire, Sarver believes Birko could still detect strong samples of accelerant.

“The dog is usually spot on,” he said.

Martin said several firefighters were stung by bees at the scene, and two firefighters were taken to a hospital as a precaution.

“When (insects) get under the heavy gear, it’s hard to get them out,” he said Monday.

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