Douglas K-9 dies in vehicle fire |

Douglas K-9 dies in vehicle fire

A Douglas County sheriff’s narcotic canine died early Friday while he was in a patrol car that caught fire possibly from faulty wiring, Sgt. Tom Mezzetta stated in a press release.

Jon-Jon, a Labrador retriever who worked for the department since early 2002, was in the patrol car as two deputies searched Meridian Business Park on a report of an intrusion alarm, Mezzetta stated.

The two deputies, including Rick Koontz, Jon-Jon’s handler, took 20 minutes to search the facility. As they exited, they discovered Koontz’s car “fully engulfed in flames,” Mezzetta stated.

“Ignoring the flames, Deputy Koontz tried to open the rear door to allow Jon-Jon to escape, but the door would not open due to the intense heat,” Mezzetta wrote. “Deputy Koontz then smashed out a rear window but it was too late. Jon-Jon had perished in the fire. Other than a broken heart, Deputy Koontz was not injured.”

Jon-Jon died at 1:40 a.m.

Jon-Jon was left in the car since the other deputy had a canine that was trained in patrol matters and was used to help search the facility.

Koontz partnered with the canine from the beginning and would often take the Labrador to schools as part of his school safety intervention duties.

Mezzetta stated Jon-Jon was instrumental in the “discovery and removal” of a “substantial amount of illegal drugs” from the area.

“Jon-Jon will be missed,” Mezzetta wrote.

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