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SBI agents, K-9: Gas found in Strickland's home after fire

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- The arson retrial of a Columbus County man with ties to former state Sen. R.C. Soles continues. Today jurors heard from fire investigators, who say they found gasoline inside Allen Strickland's home.

Two agents with the State Bureau of Investigation specializing in fire investigations were called to the stand. One agent said he smelled the presence of a fire accelerant inside Strickland's living room. He also observed burn patterns that gave indication that the fire started on the sofa.

Also today an arson K-9 handler and the dog were brought in front of the jury. Back in 2009 the dog identified the presence of gasoline on Strickland's sofa, which sat in the teen's living room. A demonstration was performed for the jury today in which the dog accurately found three drops of gasoline that were placed in the courthouse.

The defense argued that someone could have thrown the gasoline into the home through a window near the sofa.

It was anticipated that the jury would be taken out of the courthouse and to Strickland's home in Tabor City to view the scene of the fire in person. That is now expected to happen tomorrow.

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