Arson investigators show off detection dog “Ninja”

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INDIANAPOLIS — Anderson Deputy Chief Todd Jordan and his dog, Ninja, are not your usual K-9 team, as evidenced by a demonstration at the Wayne Township Fire Department Tuesday.

Ninja is one of five dogs in Indiana trained to sniff out the causes of suspicious fires, like gasoline and lighter fluid. He can even find those causes in the midst of debris that can take a normal investigators days to dig up.

“(He) can climb on the pile of debris and hit and basically tell us where to start to dig,” Jordan said.

Jordan demonstrated Ninja’s work during Arson Awareness Week. He and other investigators hope to teach homeowners not only what’s being done to protect them, but what they can do to protect themselves.

Investigators suggest that you install motion-activated lights outside your home, along with timers inside so it always looks like you’re home. They also suggest investing in an alarm system, which could get you a discount on your insurance. It’s also important to clean up debris and obstructions outside your home that could be a place for a suspect to set a fire.

“It really affects everybody in the community,” said Jeff Ferrand with the Indiana chapter of the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators.

It’s estimated that $200 to $300 per household in the U.S. is spent on arson-related expenses, like firefighter man power and water, plus insurance premiums.

Jordan hopes that Ninja’s presence will deter people from committing arsons, along with other steps like always reporting suspicions in your own neighborhood.

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