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“Blaze,” an Erie County Sheriff’s K9 deputy and his handler, Detective Steven Meerboth, graduated Friday from an eight-week training course at the state Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls.

The course provided training on obedience, agility, scent imprinting and building, outdoor and vehicle searches. Jerome H. Hauer of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services praised “these dedicated dogs and their handlers,” who find evidence “that helps put arsonist behind bars,” adding that the K9 teams “save investigators time and man hours because they can sniff out accelerants very quickly.”