The Northwest Fire District’s long-time K-9 accelerant detection canine, Jester, died.
Jester, a lovable black lab, died November 21, with his handler at his side. He was 12 years old and enjoyed a 7-year career in the fire service.
Jester joined the Northwest Fire District in December of 2003 and served the citizens of the District as well as local, state and federal agencies in arson investigations until his retirement in June of 2010. After his retirement, Jester became the family pet of his handler, Deputy Fire Marshal Dennis Stiegleiter.
During his career with the Northwest Fire District, Jester participated in three national call-outs for the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), assisted 26 different fire jurisdictions in the state, and responded to over 200 fire calls. Jester’s badge number was 500 which means he was the 500th dog trained at the ATF in Front Royal, Virginia. That number of highly trained ATF canines also includes dogs with bomb and drug detection skills and other specialized training.
Jester remained with his handler as part of the Stiegleiter family long after his retirement. He will be greatly missed by his family, the fire community, and many others throughout the community.