Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has welcomed its newest four-legged recruit, Jet.

The five-year-old black Labrador has joined the fire investigation team and will help at the scenes of fires across the area.

Jet was selected at a young age based on his drive for play and ability to follow a positive reinforcement training programme, which rewards him with a tennis ball each time he detects an ignitable substance. He was the youngest dog ever to pass the training course.

Now that a new handler for Jet has been found he has been able to rejoin the force and use his highly tuned sense of smell to find traces of accelerants, such as petrol, which may have been used to start a fire.

Even when a fire has been put out, fire investigation dogs can still smell exactly where an accelerant was used.

When Jet finds traces of an accelerant he will let handler Martyn know by ‘freezing’ and placing his nose close to where the substance has been found.This results in him getting a ball – which is his favourite toy.

Martyn Bolt, station manager and handler, said: “When it was clear Jet needed a new handler and the service could use him in a positive and proactive way, I jumped on the opportunity.

“Jet really is exceptional at what he does. It never ceases to amaze me when he locates the source of a fire.”

Two other dogs, Buddy, a two-year-old Springer Cross, and Sally, a two-year-old Labrador, are currently undergoing training to be ‘air scent’ dogs and will be used to locate live casualties in different environments.

You can follow their progress on Twitter - @AFRSDog.