Sherlock's detective work confirms hostel blaze was accident
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Health
Detective Sherlock's keen forensic skills have concluded that a fire that ripped through a London hostel wasn't started deliberately.
The seven-month-old Cocker Spaniel helps Barking's fire services to detect accelerants like petrol to determine whether or not a blaze is arson.
The fire at the converted house on Barking Road in East Ham was attended by four fire engines in the early hours of 1 April.
Firefighters rescued two men from the hostel, which was badly damaged by the blaze.
Watch manager Paul Baker said: “Crews were faced with a severe fire which caused downstairs windows to smash due to the intensity of the blaze. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued a man from the ground floor and another from the first floor via the internal staircase.”
A woman and a further man had escaped from the property before fire crews arrived. London Ambulance Service treated all four at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Paul Osborne, a fire investigator and Sherlock's handler, said: "Sherlock didn't identify any of the substances he’s trained to sniff out, including petrol, lighter fluid, and white spirit. That evidence, alongside my investigation, indicates that the cause of the fire was accidental. Sherlock's completely invaluable as he’s much more efficient than the mechanical devices available.
"The property had working smoke alarms. Thankfully no one needed to go to hospital which might not have been the case had they not had working smoke alarms, so make sure you test yours regularly.”