National Fire Dog Monument honors arson teams

FIREHOUSE DOG

After looking for the new National Fire Dog Monument every time I drove by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, I walked the area one day. And there it was in plain sight — by the Engine Co. 2 fire house one block west at Fifth & F. Sts.NW.

Now we mostly think of a fire house dog as a dalmatian riding atop the fire engine on the way to an emergency, but this monument remembers the 81 K-9 teams nationwide that handle “accelerant detection.” Translation: they look for sources of arson in the ashes, which is why the piece is called “Ashes to Answers.”

Sculptor Austin Weishel of Colorado is an EMT and volunteer fireman and seen remarkable success as a sculptor at just age 24. According to Washington Post columnist Joe Kelly, the only younger sculptor of a major piece in Washington was Vinnie Ream, who created a Abraham Lincoln marble statue in 1871.

Weishel’s piece has the dog looking up to a fireman like they’re a team. It was dedicated on Oct. 23, 2015. There is also a plan to have a bronze fire hydrant pour water into a bowl for passing dogs to enjoy.

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