ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Fire Department showed off members of its K-9 search and rescue unit Tuesday. The dogs and their handlers held a media day at the fire department’s headquarters off Jefferson Avenue.

Thanks to a donation from August Busch III five years ago, the department added some “furry” helpful members to the team. The K-9s’ names are Armor, Chase, Balco, and Blaze. 

“The St. Louis Fire Department started a K-9 team five years ago, and it’s amazing how long it takes and how much effort and assistance it takes to keep this team running and up and running,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.

Jenkerson said they are working on adding dogs to create an eight-member unit. There are currently two in training, which takes about two years’ time. The dogs live with their handlers.

“Our K-9s are certified in live rescue and human remain detection,” said St. Louis Fire Captain Leon Whitener.  “Our Live Find K-9s will be deployed to tragic events such as the Amazon warehouse collapse and also for lost or missing persons.”

Purina Pro Plan donated more than 2,000 pounds of food to fuel the K-9 partners. With another donation from a nonprofit, the dogs have some cool gear — including goggles with camera mounts. The goggles will help them search buildings and areas that a human can’t get to.

“We have a goal of getting the best quality training and gear on people and dogs that are providing services to other humans in our region,” said Andrew Moulton, the co-founder of the 108 Project. “So that’s the goal to ensure that whenever these folks are deployed to help folks, they have the quality gear they need to do that.”

The St. Louis Fire Department used the dogs last year when part of the Lemp brewery collapsed. Those search and rescue unit dogs in action for that call.