Cadaver dogs searching rubble for human remains after 'Bluecut' fire destroys 96 homes

Meet Dublin. He’s a nine year old lab trained to smell for human remains. 

“This is what they live for this is what they are bred for,” Peter Sellas, Dublin’s handler, said. “Their pay check is a tug toy so this is all they want to do.”

Dublin and Sellas are one of three teams searching homes that burned in the Blue Cut fire.

These highly trained cadaver dogs, use their strong noses to sniff out any sign of human decomposition before alerting their handlers, but pawing around in the rubble is rough.  

“They are walking around barefoot and the surface is hot just because it is summer and then you put them into house that’s just burned down,” another handler, John Thomas said. 

The dogs with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are helping the damage assessment teams. 

So far, officials have counted 96 homes and over 200 outbuildings burned. 

“We know this fire came into these communities with little to no warning and it’s a very real possibility that somebody lost their life,”  Eric Sherwin, San Bernardino County Fire, said. 

Diane Holmes who lives in the West Cajon valley, came home to find her house still standing. 

Other houses in her neighborhood burned, but she’s grateful firefighters saved hers from the flames. 

“It was crazy fast and I’ve never seen it move that fast before,” Holmes said. “We were grateful to get everything out, I know my neighbors some of them lost their homes but as far as I know all the people are ok and we’re grateful for that.”

The cadaver dogs searched about ten properties Friday morning and their search didn’t turn up anything.

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