Waverly, TN – Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) K9 Ciro died in the line of duty on March 3 after a fire erupted in the dashboard of the patrol vehicle he was sitting in.
The incident occurred outside the Humphreys County Courthouse as K9 Ciro’s handler, HCSO Deputy Shaun Gary, was testifying in court, WVLT reported.
“However social Ciro was, he was a bite dog. He was a full patrol dog and he was trained to protect me. I can’t take Ciro into those places without a need,” Deputy Gary later told WKRN.
The deputy said that before heading into the building, he checked the vehicle’s alert system, which “monitors the temperature, all the vehicle operations, [and] the voltage” of the vehicle, according to WKRN.
“In the event of a temperature rise in the car, it sends a page, it sends a text, and then it sends a phone call to my cellphone,” Deputy Gary explained, describing the program as an elaborate system “that generally works very well.”
The deputy was inside the courthouse for just 15 minutes before an electrical short sparked a fire in the patrol vehicle’s dashboard area, WVLT reported.
The flames disabled all of the electronic operations in the vehicle, including the locks and the alarm system.
When Deputy Gary exited the courthouse, he saw smoke billowing from his patrol unit, WKRN reported.
He ran to the vehicle and frantically tried to rescue K9 Ciro by breaking out the glass and using a door ram on the SUV.
“I was going to do everything I could to get him out of that car,” Deputy Gary said, holding back tears. “I couldn’t get to him and it’s like one of your children. I burnt myself and was going to burn myself to get to that dog. That was the hardest thing for me was not being able to get in that car.”
The fire department cut the door open using the jaws of life, but K9 Ciro had already passed away due to smoke inhalation, WKRN reported.