RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- The Rancho Cucamonga Fire District is hosting a memorial service on Saturday to honor the service of Denali, a yellow labrador retreiver, who served the department for as an arson investigation dog.
The public service will take place at 10 a.m. at Jersey station, 11297 Jersey Boulevard. Invited to the ceremony are service dogs from throughout the state.
Denali passed away in October last year after complications from megaesophagus. His cremated remains will be present at the ceremony, said his owner Susan De Antonio, a retired Rancho Cucamonga fire investigator.
Over the course of his career, Denali investigated dozens of fires in Rancho Cucmaonga, and mutual aid fire scenes in the surrounding Inland Empire region. In total, he investigated over $9 million in losses.
"This is truly the end of a very important era. A young person might visit the station one day, and might want to be interested in prosecuting and investigating arson," De Antonio said. "They might say, I heard a long time ago, dogs use to be used for this, and hopefully we'll get a canine team again."
De Antonio adopted Denali from Guide Dogs of America, when he was two. Denali was the last of three flammable liquid-sniffing dogs used by the department during investigations in the past decade.
The Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department currently utilizes canine investigation assistance from nearby fire departments, in addition to machine analysis by local investigators.
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