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The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is saddened to announce the passing of our canine fire family member, Riley. Riley served as the department’s accelerant detection/arson canine for seven years. Riley was diagnosed with a non-work related brain tumor in April of 2020.


Riley joined the Santa Barbara County Fire Department in 2013. Riley was one of four accelerant detection canines in the State of California sponsored by the State Farm Insurance Arson Dog Program. After a rigorous initial training sponsored by State Farm, Riley graduated and was paired with veteran dog handler Captain Howard Orr. Over their seven-year career together, Captain Orr and Riley responded to over 60 calls for service throughout Santa Barbara County and its neighboring jurisdictions resulting in the detection of accelerants on over 40 fires. Riley’s hard work and dedication to the citizens of Santa Barbara County resulted in the incarceration of several arsonists. His most notable conviction was of an arsonist who set three fires in one night in Santa Maria, resulting in a conviction and sentence of 17 years.

Riley was a great ambassador to the community through his involvement with school presentations, community events and service club presentations. We would like to thank DVM Dave Dawson and DVM Ann O’Brien Welton at the San Roque Pet Hospital for their exceptional care of Riley over the years, as well as the generous donation of dog food for the duration of Riley’s life from Wendy Guyer at The Pet House in Goleta.

Fire Chief Mark Hartwig commented, “Riley is part of our family. We mourn the loss of Riley the same way we mourn the loss of any other member of the fire family.”

Riley’s skill, enthusiastic spirit and gregarious nature will be greatly missed.

Contact Information:
Captain Daniel Bertucelli
Information Officer
Office 805-681-5531
Cell 805-896-6336
News Line 805-681-5546
Email [email protected]
Twitter @SBCFireInfo


All Santa Barbara County Fire Department News Releases are available at

Serving the cities of Buellton, Goleta, and Solvang, and the Communities of Casmalia, Cuyama, Gaviota, Hope Ranch,
Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Orcutt, Santa Maria, Sisquoc, and Vandenberg Village