AFR’s arson dog responds to dozens of investigations during first year

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The only arson dog in the state of New Mexico, based in Albuquerque, had an impressive first year on the job and her trainer believes it will only go up from here.

“She’s getting better and better every single day,” said Ron Gunderson, an investigator with Albuquerque Fire Rescue.

Gunderson is the trainer for two-year-old Louise, who everyone calls Wheezy.

“She can definitely act like a puppy sometimes but she is very well-behaved, and when she knows it’s time to work she can get serious,” said Gunderson.

During her first year on the job, Gunderson says he and Wheezy were called to 21 investigations, 15 of which were determined to be intentionally caused.

Gunderson says the most impressive investigation happened on the Navajo Nation where a church, convenience store, and three homes were burned down last August.

“There were multiple buildings that were set on fire and that was probably the most impactful. She alerted multiple times and we collected a lot of evidence at the scene and we were able to determine that an accelerant was used on that. That was a big scene and it was a lot of work so to see her work that hard and do what she was trained to do that was probably the most impactful,” said Gunderson.

To date, Gunderson says nine different agencies across the state have called Wheezy in for investigations.

“I only see that getting more as departments start to know that we have her and they learn of her capabilities,” said Gunderson.

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