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Arson dogs fight fraud

"Cotton" "Cotton"

October 6, 2003

Albany -- This is National Fire Prevention Week. And to promote fire safety, State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine showed off Georgia's newest arson investigator.

This is State Fire Marshal K-9 Arson Investigator, Cotton. The 18 month old Yellow Lab is South Georgia's arson sniffer.

Working out of Cordele, Cotton will help check suspicious fires in 59 counties. Handler Bruce Gourley said "His main function is to detect hydrocarbons. Which is an ignitable liquid, any petroleum type base. He will alert on charcoal lighter fluid and things of that nature."

Cotton and handler Bruce Gourley worked for five weeks at the Maine State Police training headquarters, to become a team. Cotton started duty less than a month ago, and has already proven himself on the job. Gourley said "He's already got two arrests."

Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine touring the state with Cotton, one of five arson dogs in Georgia, promoting fire safety. Saying every home needs a working smoke alarm, Oxendine gave the Albany Fire Department 48 smoke alarms to give to low income households.

Oxendine said " A working smoke detector is going to more than double your chances of surviving a home fire. But you've got to make sure there is a fresh battery in it."

The Albany Fire Department will distribute the free smoke alarms to people in need. Fire fighters will install them if needed,because they know they save lives.

Four thousand people a year die in fires across America.

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