K9 Deacon Joins the MD State Fire Marshal’s Office


(L-R) S/DSFM Oliver Alkire, DCFM-K9 Commander John Nelson, S/DSFM Jeff Thomas & K9 Deacon, SFM Brian S. Geraci, DSFM Tim McDonald, S/DSFM Chris McIntyre

There’s a new employee at the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office – K9 Deacon and his human Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Jeff Thomas. Deacon is a 13 month old yellow Lab and has been ATF-trained in the accelerant detection canine program. They are the sixth team trained in accelerant and explosive detection and will respond across Maryland.

Additional information from the MD State Fire Marshal’s release:

Deacon was raised by Paws for a Cause and later transitioned to Von Der King Kennels and Training before being acquired by the ATF for the accelerant detection canine program. They will join nearly 60 other teams across the country. 

Senior Deputy Thomas and Deacon graduated from the ATF National Canine Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia, along with six other handlers from across the country. This certification program is an intensive 12-week school focused on accelerant detection canine methodology, fire chemistry, safety and first aid, health, and wellness, as well as several investigative disciplines. The practical skills and team exercises were conducted in and around vehicles, structures, humans, equipment, and fire scenes to hone Deacon’s scent discrimination skills.

Deacon is now proficient in detecting specific classifications of ignitable liquids and has performed over 5,000 repetitions for odor recognition and detection during training.

K9 Deacon will join the agency’s other accelerant and explosive detection canine teams assigned to the Special Operations Section and respond across Maryland. With six teams, the Office of the State Fire Marshal is honored and privileged to have the largest partnership of ATF-trained canine teams in the country.