WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A deputy described his frantic fight to save his K-9 partner as smoke billowed from his car. The horrific turn of events unfolded in just about 15 minutes outside of the Humphreys County courthouse Thursday morning.
“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 Shaun Gary explained.
The patrol car is Ciro’s regular workspace, and it’s equipped with technology to alert his handler if something goes wrong in the car.
“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,” said Deputy Gary.
It’s a system built for working dogs like Ciro who spend much of their shifts inside the patrol car.
“Elaborate systems that generally work very well.”
However it only works with power, and in this case, with an electrical fire inside the patrol car, he says it failed.
“That’s the Ace Hot-N-Pop system. That monitors the temperature, all the vehicle operations, the voltage and it also allows me access to unlock the door,” the deputy pointed.
Deputy Gary said he checked the system before leaving his partner and secured the car for his dog’s safety, as well as the general public’s.
“In order to secure their safety; windows up, doors locked and air is running.”
A fire near the dashboard disabled everything electrical in the patrol car, including the alarm system.
“I was going to do everything I could to get him out of that car,” Deputy Shawn Gary explained with tears in his eyes, saying they broke the glass and used a door ram to try and rescue Ciro.
The fire department eventually used the jaws of life to cut open the door only to find Ciro deceased.
“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,” said Deputy Gary.
The glass and burns left in deputy Gary’s hands nothing compared to the hole left in his heart.
“It’s going to be hard, we were tight. He is, he was like one of my kids.”
Ciro was a family member that was with Deputy Gary 24-7. The loss is devastating for everyone, from the Sheriff’s Department to his home with his wife and children.
“Ciro was perfect in everything he did; his behavior, his home life, his work life, everything was perfect and we won’t be able to replace him.”
Ciro was five years old and with the department for four years. A service will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. for law enforcement at Luff-Bowen Funeral Home.