Just over a year after a freak accident left him severely injured, Cpl. Ed Hano has returned to duty with the Downey Police Department.
Hano, a canine officer and 18-year veteran of the Downey Police Department, was hospitalized after a random, unexpected explosion occurred during a routine training exercise in South Gate in July of last year.
“It was a Wednesday…We always do training on Wednesday nights,” said Hano. “On that particular day, I was in charge of doing the narcotic searches for the narcotic dogs.
“We were in a room and one of our dogs knocked over a door to an electrical panel and exposed the wires. We didn’t think much of it; we continued on and finished the scenario.”
What happened next could only be described as a freak accident.
“As we were walking out of it, I put the door back in its place and for who knows what reason the actual panel exploded, it exploded in my face.”
Hano says that his memory from that point on “isn’t that good.”
“I was knocked unconscious, so the day is real foggy,” said Hano. “To this day, after a year of trying to remember things, I don’t remember a lot.”
Another canine officer from South Gate was also hospitalized. Hano’s canine partner, Dani, did not suffer any serious injuries.
The explosion left Hano with third-degree burn injuries. He said that upon arriving to the hospital, doctors gave him a paralytic and then put him out. He woke up three weeks later.
“I spent a month at Torrance (hospital) where they had done skin grafts, two surgeries and I got discharged a month later.”
It has been a year of rehabilitation and physical therapy for Hano since then. He described it as a “roller coaster.”
“Hours of physical therapy, mostly it was wound care; everything’s painful,” said Hano. “Burns are something that I’d never experienced but knowing now what people with burns go through…it’s still painful.”
Hano continued to fight through, however, citing support of family, his department, his city, and, of course, his partner Dani.
“I had her (Dani),” said Hano. “This was another saving grace…the department letting me keep her for the entire year.”
Hano has now been back at work for just around a month. He was welcomed back with a reception by his fellow officers.
“It was heartwarming,” said Hano. “It was very cool; something I didn’t expect.”
Hano was also recently honored by Mayor Sean Ashton with the Downey DNA Award.
“Ed Hano doesn’t give up, he really is dedicated to the City of Downey,” said Ashton. “Somebody that’s dedicated as much as Cpl. Hano, to me, seemed like the perfect fit to receive the Mayor’s Downey DNA Award.”
Hano called the award an “honor.”
“If I represent the values of the Downey DNA Award, then I contribute it to not just myself but the way I was brought up,” said Hano. “If I can inspire someone else to set an example, then I’m here for them too.”