BRINNON, Wash. -- Western Washington now has it's very own K-9 arson investigator.
Allie is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever and only one of two certified accelerant-detecting dogs in Washington state, but she's not being welcomed with opened arms by all.
Brinnon Fire Chief Patrick Nicholson is Allie's handler and she's always by his side -- except when he works for East Jefferson Fire Rescue.
When Nicholson is not working in Brinnon, he must leave Allie in her kennel at his home because Allie is not currently allowed inside any EJFR stations.
"It's ridiculous to prohibit Allie," said Nicholson. "I don't think pet dander or allergies is something that should prevent this asset from being able to work."
According to EJFR officials, the problem isn't the dog, it's the dander. Allie is a health risk for firefighters and allowing Allie indoors could place employees in constant threat to their health and safety because some people may be allergic, said an EJFR spokesperson.
Nicholson said EJFR officials believe Allie's presence would create a hostile work environment.
Nicholson said he offered to vacuum and clean up after Allie but it hasn't swayed EJFR officials.
The EJFR Board of Commissioners is debating a draft policy dealing with service animals. Still, Nicholson worries Allie will not be allowed to accompany him at work.
Officials from East Jefferson Fire Rescue declined an on-camera interview for this story.
The department defended its decision in a written statement which reads, in part: "We have employees for whom the presence of a dog is a health risk. For those employees, an animal in their workplace is not a positive presence, but rather a constant threat to their well-being and safety."
Nicholson remains hopeful the EJFR board will change its mind.