Canine Unit

Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System has three K9 teams that are assigned to the Fire Marshal’s Office. These canines are trained in specific areas.

Accelerant Detection

Accelerant Detection Canine teams are a law enforcement officer partnered with a highly trained canine used to investigate fire scenes. Canine teams have proven to be the most effective tool that fire investigators can use to locate accelerants. An accelerant detection canine (ADC) is trained to sniff out minute traces of ignitable liquid accelerants that may have been used to start a fire or other evidence used during the criminal act. The investigator will collect the samples identified by the canine, and they will be sent to a lab to confirm the presence of an accelerant. Outside of fire investigations, canine teams also head out into their communities to teach fire safety and prevention to kids and adults.


Dolley is a certified accelerant detection canine trained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. She is a female yellow Labrador retriever born July 14, 2012, and raised by the Guide Dog Foundation. Dolley’s handler is Captain Bud Herndon and when she is not working, she enjoys playing at home with her family.

Dolley Working

Explosives Detection

Explosive Detection Canine Teams include a highly trained detection dog and a law enforcement handler. These teams conduct searches for a variety of explosive materials near building exteriors, parking lots, office areas, vehicles, packages, and people.  They also provide a strong visible and psychological deterrent against criminal and terrorist threats. The teams are available to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement partners.


Aurora is a female yellow Labrador retriever born on September 20, 2013. She graduated from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Explosives Detection Canine School in June of 2015. Aurora is imprinted (trained to detect) trace amounts of explosives. She was selected and donated to Loudoun County through Mike Stapleton Associates (MSA) Security. Aurora’s handler is Captain Leif Sundberg and when she is not working, she enjoys playing her buddy Thor.


Thor is a male black Labrador retriever born on November 30, 2015 in Lakeside, Michigan.  He entered the Puppies Behind Bars program in New York State where he began his training. Thor was selected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Detection Canine School to attend explosives training. He graduated from the ATF Detection Canine School in August of 2017. Thor is imprinted (trained to detect) small amounts of explosives. Thor’s handler is Captain Chris Barry and when he is not working, Thor likes playing fetch.

Thor and Aurora laying

Learn About How K-9's are Community Helpers

Join Captain Herndon and Dolley for a reading of National Geographic's Dolley the Fire Dog