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Spencer, the springer spaniel from North East Fire and Rescue ServiceNorth East search and rescue dog Spencer has been loaned to North Yorkshire Police to help at the obliterated home destroyed in an explosion.

One man died at the detached home in Haxby, North Yorkshire, after it was reduced to a pile of rubble by a huge explosion early today.

Nearby properties had windows blown out and their roofs smashed, and North Yorkshire police had the help of Spencer, a springer spaniel search and rescue dog from the Tyne and Wear fire service, to search the wreckage.

Using his sensitive sniffing skills, Spencer is able quickly locate live casualties who are injured or trapped in collapsed buildings, and the talented dog is trained to cope with tasks such as working at height, rope access and in very confined spaces.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“Spencer is a valuable asset to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and we are more than happy to help our colleagues in North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in dealing with this difficult incident in York today.

Spencer and his handler will be available to our colleagues in North Yorkshire as long as required.”

North Yorkshire Police said a man, 63, was dead in the rubble and the incident had ‘all the hallmarks of a gas explosion’ but added that they were investigating whether there were any suspicious circumstances.

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