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The Bowling Green Fire Department’s newest member doesn’t say much, can’t drive a firetruck or pull a hose line, but she’s already proving her worth.

Millie, a two year old black Labrador Retriever, is an Accelerant Detection Canine. Millie and her handler, Fire Investigator Captain Michael Cornwell, both graduated December 7, 2018 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Accelerant Detection Canine (ADC) Handling School in Virginia. Cornwell applied for the school several months in advance and was selected by the ATF to attend. After the first week of training, Millie was placed with Cornwell based on their personalities and she officially began to live with him at his hotel. The training itself was six weeks long, seven days a week.

Accelerant Detection Canines have a sense of smell that is 100,000 times more acute than a humans, they are completely unbiased and free of judgment, they are able detect an accelerant on clothing, shoes or a body in a crowd, and they can usually cover an entire scene in 30 minutes saving hours if not days in time.

Over the course of the six week ADC school, Cornwell and Millie learned to work together to identify evidence at fire scenes, resulting in a more accurate and credible detection resource than devices that are currently available. Cornwell was also instructed on how to keep Millie healthy and safe. In order to prevent their training from being compromised, Millie will live with Cornwell and will have to work to be fed, either through rigorous daily testing or while at an investigation.

Millie will not only be working at fire scenes but will also eventually be involved in helping to teach fire safety to local groups. We are excited for Millie to be a part of our team both for investigations and educating the public.

“I have always had a deep love of animals and the idea of working with canines has peaked my interest for many years, really ever since the first time I observed a working service dog,” said Cornwell. “Millie is a very friendly and hardworking dog. She is very calm for a 2 ½ year old Lab and has a great temperament with people. It’s fun to watch her get excited when it’s time to work. You can see a noticeable change in her when I put the food pouch on my belt.  This “food pouch” is what indicates to her that it’s time to work.”

We can’t wait for the coming years of #adventureswithMillie!