It was an impressive demonstration that unfolded shortly before one this afternoon at Rochester Fire's Engine #2 firehouse. Rochester's new fire marshal, Chris Ferguson, and his partner searched for signs of arson deposited in cement blocks and the tops of tin cans around the firehouse. Ferguson's partner is an arson K9 trained in a unique program funded by State Farm Insurance.
When Radar is working, he is entirely focused and eager. Ferguson rewards him with food. In fact, he only eats as part of his ongoing training. He is well-fed and well-trained.
"You know it's really neat," said Captain Brett Knapp as he watched Ferguson and Radar conduct their exercise. "It's something new for us at RFD. We haven't had an arson canine before, so he's definitely going to be a valuable tool for us, but outside of that, we just kind of enjoyed meeting him and getting to know him. He's a friendly dog."
Ferguson and Radar have been working together for four years in Waterloo, Iowa. They also live together.
"Do you have kids and how does he get along with everyone else in the house?" this reporter asked Ferguson.
"I do have a little one, over a seven-month-old at home right now," Ferguson said. "The relationship is great. He's kind of like a gentle giant."
Years from now, when Radar retires, he will continue to live with Ferguson and his families. Radar and Ferguson are partners for life.