Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive


Dog Rouses Family Asleep in
Burning House Only to
Perish in Flames


Store and Dwelling Destroyed,
Will Erect Gravestone
for Faithful Animal


  Kaiser Wilhelm's devotion and loyalty to his master, D. E. Koontz in saving the Koontz family from being burned to death, and chasing a burglar responsible for the fire, cost him his life at 3:51 a. m. today.  Kaiser Wilhelm was only a dog, but his heroic death will be made the occasion of the erection of a grave stone marker, on which will be inscribed a memorial.  The faithful watchdog's playmate and companion, an Angora cat, valued at $25, saved its life by jumping from the second-story window.

    Koontz, three weeks ago, rented the two-story frame store and residence building at East Thirty-ninth and Eureka streets, and after installing his family in the rooms over the store, opened a grocery.

    Shortly before 3:51 a. m. today Koontz and his wife were roused from their slumber by the barking of the watchdog, which had been left in the store to guard against burglars.  They found their room filled with smoke and were almost suffocated.  Groping his way to the stairway Koontz heard the sound of breaking glass and the noise of footfalls.  By the time he reached the store front the interior was ablaze.  The faithful watchdog was not in sight, and the fire was so hot that Koontz dared not enter.  While he was seeking to rouse his neighbors, a newsboy saw the flames and turned in an alarm to engine company 14 at East-fourth street and Central avenue.

    The company laid 1,000 feet of hose and then discovered the hose lacked 600 feet of reaching the fire.  Hose company 3 was called out, and with its hose the first water was turned on the fire.  Patrolman Thornton turned in an alarm from East Forty-fourth street and Central avenue, and this called engine company 7.  Despite the efforts of the three companies, Koontz's grocery and household effects were destroyed by fire and water, entailing a loss of $1,500.  He carried $1,000. insurance.  After the embers had cooled Koontz and Patrolman "Jack" Walsh of the University substation investigated the fire, and climbing over the debris in the storeroom, found the body of Kaiser Wilhelm.  The fire had started in the corner where Koontz kept his stock of matches, and near by was found the cash drawer, broken and lying on the floor.  The contents, $8 in small change, was missing.

    This was the second fire during the night that was directly traceable to the work of burglars.  The first fire was at the home of C. P. Stewart, 3125 South Union avenue, where the fire damage amounted to $1,000.

    Explosion of a lamp in the shoe shop at 1509 West Seventh street early last evening caused a damage of $1,000 to the shop and the residence overhead.



The Los Angeles Evening News, March 31, 1906

Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved.