TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Torch, a Labrador retriever that was rescued in the Austin area and went on to serve as four-legged member of Temple Fire & Rescue, sniffing out accelerants at fire scenes, died Friday at the age of 9 after a long illness.
“Torch, thanks for being part of the Temple Fire & Rescue family. Here’s hoping you have unlimited play time and your favorite toy is always close by,” Temple Fire Rescue & Spokesman Thomas Pechal said in a press release Friday.
Torch joined the department in May 2012 when he was 2 and spent about four months learning how to sniff out such substances as gasoline, diesel fuel, lighter fluid and paint thinner.
His handler, Training Chief Jonathan Christian, a former fire marshal, spent two weeks in Cedar Park learning to work with and handle the dog, which lived with the Christian family.
“Torch assisted Temple fire investigators at the scene of a fire by quickly identifying the presence of accelerants,” Pechal said.
“He identified the area where accelerants were located. Narrowing down the area assisted investigators when they removed samples to send for laboratory analysis to identify the type of accelerant used.”
Torch retired at the age of 7 in October 2017, but continued to live with the Christian family until his death, Pechal said.