Sonny joins Phoenix Fire Department as arson dog

Meet Sonny. He's the newest member of the Phoenix Fire family and he is already reporting for duty.

Sonny, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever Labrador Mix, is nationally certified through the Criminal Justice Academy as one of only two accelerant dogs in the Valley.

Sonny's handler and Phoenix Fire Captain, Robert Simpson, says the special pup brings a lot of enthusiasm to the fire station.

"When he goes home with me, he's a typical dog -- happy, goofy, fun," he said. "When he shows up at work, he's excited to see everybody. Everywhere you go, you see faces light up."

And he brings the same amount of focus to a fire scene.

"He saves us so much time and energy on scene," Simpson said. "He can identify accelerants in minutes, whereas it takes us hours. With Sonny, it's a matter of minutes."

Sonny's arrival was long overdue since Phoenix Fire has not had an accelerant canine in about five or six years. But thanks to a large partnership with State Farm, Sonny's new home is now the Phoenix firehouse and he's on duty at least once a week.

"We can figure out where to take a good sample, but that could take us hours or days," Simpson said.

The department says they're lucky to have him.

"He's a tremendous resource and then everybody loves him!" Simpson said.