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Arson dog snuffs out playing with fire

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Last Friday, I got the chance to hang out at the Ruston Fire Department Central Station with Buddy the Arson Dog; his owner Ric Abbott, a lieutenant investigator with the State Fire Marshal; and a bunch of kids from the Lincoln Parish Early Childhood Educational Center. (This has always been one of my favorite parts of being a journalist — getting to do things and visit places that most people do not.)

Friday’s occasion was the closing of Fire Safety Week, and the preschoolers were there to meet Buddy and learn about fire safety. In light of the two fires in the past week — both suspected by the fire department to be arson — having Buddy visit was a pretty timely occurrence.

I was curious why students at this tender age were being introduced to an arson dog. Surely there aren’t any 4-year-old pyromaniacs running around setting fire to local establishments (I feel certain I’d have heard about this long before now). RFD Public Education Officer Eric Brazzel and Abbott explained the reason for targeting preschool aged children is because these precious little tykes aren’t quite old enough to understand the potential consequences of fire.

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