When tragedy strikes, and a suspicious fire needs to be investigated, these are the officers sniffing out the crime.

"The dog's nose is so much more sensitive than laboratory equipment so we utilize that uniqueness of the dog as an investigative tool," said David Klitsch, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Arson Investigators.

And like any first responder, training is key.

"We're looking for something that somebody may have committed a crime and we need to make sure they're going to be at the top of their game everyday," said Trent Zulick, lieutenant of the City of Reading Fire Marshal's Office.

On Thursday, K-9 teams from Reading, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and as far as Allegheny County, were given the rare chance to sharpen their noses inside the former Lehigh Elementary School, which will soon be demolished.

"It is very unique in that many times acquired structures are not available," said Klitsch.

The Pennsylvania Association of Arson Investigators used the former classrooms and burnt up furniture to create mock fire scenes.

"It's pretty realistic for what these dogs are going to experience when they go to a fire scene," said Dennis Woodring, committee chair for the PAAI Ignitable Liquid K-9 Group.

They're all trained to distinguish a variety of materials, and sniff out ignitable liquids.

"Gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, charcoal lighter fluid," said Woodring.

When the pups pick up on a scent, they sit to alert their handler, who then feed them as a reward.

"Every day we have to train our dogs. They're all on a food reward program so that's how they get fed every day," said Zulick.

The group says it's appreciative of the Northampton Area School District allowing them to use the building, which members say is the perfect size for this kind of operation.

"It's a great opportunity because it doesn't happen very often," said Zulick.

The old Lehigh Elementary is set to be demolished over the next few weeks.