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Service dog fired up by Twitter
PA/ Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
Nelson the fire investigation dog has taken to Twitter (PA/ Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service)
He may be more used to chasing balls than tweeting but a dog has joined the world of social media.
Nelson the fire investigation dog is believed to be the first UK fire and rescue service animal to take to Twitter.
The four-year-old springer spaniel can be found tweeting at @Nelson_firedog and has gained more than 40 followers in his first month on the popular site.
The account was set up by his owner and handler Mark Smith, a watch manager with the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, to help promote fire safety messages and give an insight into the canine's daily life.
Mr Smith said: "Nelson is a popular dog and many people stop to talk to us about his work whenever he joins me at community events. Twitter seemed to be the logical next step. Now we can share details of Nelson's work to a wider audience, from scent detection to safety messages.
"Nelson is steadily gaining more followers on Twitter, but fortunately he isn't letting this new found fame go to his head - he still has an important role within the service's fire investigation team."
As the service's only fire investigation dog - or hydrocarbon detection dog, to give him his official title - Nelson is brought in to identify the cause of fires thought to have been the work of arsonists. Trained to detect minute traces of accelerants, Nelson can detect a variety of substances from petrol to acetone.
"To Nelson, this vital work is a game," explained Mr Smith. "But it is well known that fire investigation dogs can detect the presence of ignitable liquids with greater accuracy and speed than humans, or specialised detection devices brought to the scene. He's a fantastic dog, who loves what he does. When working or training, Nelson's reward is play time with a tennis ball - an arrangement he's very happy with."
Nelson joined the fire service in July 2009 and lives with Mr Smith and his family in Bodmin along with their three other dogs.
https://twitter.com/Nelson_FireDog(Nelson on Twitter)