Tributes have been paid to Browza, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service’s (HFRS) first fire investigation dog, following his death on Sunday, January 19.
Chief Fire Officer, Roy Wilsher, said: "Many of us worked with Browza during his six years of service with us and he was an extremely loving and hardworking dog not only for us, but for the wider community, other fire and rescue services and the police.
"He was an asset and an integral part in helping us to investigate fires and was involved in a number of high profile investigations where the evidence he found proved vital in court.
"Browza had excellent successes in driving down deliberate fire setting and his significant achievements and successes have led the way in helping to make the county safer and acting as a deterrent to arsonists.
"We would all like to pay tribute to the work Browza has done and it is with fondness and appreciation that we will remember him. "
Paula Stevenson was Browza’s Dog Handler from 2001 to 2007 during his service with HFRS and came to live with her after his retirement.
She said: "Browza was an exceptional dog in every way. He loved his job and was always ready to work whatever time of day or night.
"It was an absolute honour and privilege to work with him and he enjoyed a long and happy retirement with my family.
"I know that watching him work inspired other fire and rescue services to obtain a Fire Investigation Dog. He was a much loved dog and will be greatly missed."
Five things that you didn’t know about Browza:
• He was one of the first dogs in the UK to be employed by a fire and rescue service.
• Browza worked from March 2001 to 2007 and investigated more than 270 incidents which helped to secure numerous convictions.
• During Browza’s time with HFRS he worked throughout the region assisting fire investigation officers in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Essex. He also attended incidents further afield in Oxfordshire, London, Berkshire and Lincolnshire.
• Browza’s superior sense of smell meant he was able to search a fire scene quickly and pick up scent particles of ignitable liquids until he detected the source and relayed this to his handler.
• Browza was sponsored and named by Hatfield based Computacenter.