Investigators Unleash Adorable Doggie Detective To Solve Downtown L.A. Fire Mystery
The mysterious fire that took out two-thirds of an unpopular downtown L.A. development is being investigated starting today by federal agents. And one sleuth on the case is Major, an adorable accelerant sniffing canine who has been called the Derek Jeter of doggie detectives. Major's involvement in the case was announced today at a press conference held at the scene of the fire this morning at 11:30 a.m.. where both Los Angeles fire officials and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents appeared to discuss in the investigation, ABC 7 reports. The investigators said that while this isn't being treated as a criminal case, nothing is being ruled out. There are 25 ATF agents working with LAFD to get to the bottom of what caused the fire, an investigation that LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said may take weeks or possibly months.
This conference was to be the last until there has been a new development.
ATF agent Carlos Canino put the fire at a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 of hypothetical scale of fire sizes. So, pretty big. He also said that what is to come is a two-part investigation, involving both the scene of the fire and the people of Los Angeles.
"What we find [at the scene of the fire] dictates a lot of what happens, and the questions we will ask people in the community," he said.
He said investigators have been pouring over video footage of the fire.
But perhaps the real secret weapon is Major. He's a black Labrador Retriever who works for the LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section, according to the LAFD's arson department's Facebook page. He's about 6, but that's 42 in dog years. Major was trained by the ATF in Virginia, and he's considered one of the best. Canino said that having Major and his handler, Frank, on the case was "like having Derek Jeter on your team." Major is so important that he even has his own business card, which was handed out to journalists this morning.
If Major can sniff out the root of the fire, he could really bust this whole case wide open.
Now, there have been many theories about who may have started the fire, if indeed arson was the cause. Some think that it was someone who hated developer Geoffrey Palmer and his fortress-like apartment complexes. City Lab asked if the fire was perhaps an 'architectural hate crime.' Other Internet detectives on threads related to the fire suspect that Palmer may have started the fire himself to collect insurance money and garner sympathy. One person in a Facebook group focusing on issues affecting downtown Los Angeles even speculated that perhaps the military, who is conducting training exercises downtown this week, started the fire to distract residents from what they're really up doing.
There's also this extremely plausible explanation.