Iowa Department Honors Fellow Firefighter

A Des Moines firefighter who was killed in the line of duty was honored Tuesday by his fellow firefighters.

Officials said 40-year-old Daniel Nichols died shortly after 7 a.m. Monday after his car struck a patch of ice just miles from his home in Warren County.

Nichols had just worked a 48-hour shift with the Des Moines Fire Department, where he was a full-time medic.

He was also a volunteer firefighter for Indianola. Nichols and his wife, Jana, have five children.

On Tuesday, firefighters displayed his gear outside Des Moines Fire Station Three, underneath a flag at half-staff.

Firefighters said Nichols should have been working Tuesday, which made the gesture all that more symbolic.

They said he was ambitious, fun loving, and a devoted dad. Firefighters used today to come together and grieve for their lost friend.

"So far it's solemn, you know? This is the first time we've been together since we found out," said Capt. Steve Beckett, of the Des Moines Fire Department.

Des Moines Fire Chief Phillip Vorlander said Nichols would be considered "killed in the line of duty" because he died within 48 hours of the end of his shift. The designation would provide benefits to Nichols' wife and children if it gets federal approval. Nichols was the first Des Moines firefighter deemed killed in the line of duty in more than 35 years.

A memorial fund has been set up for the Nichols' five children. Donations can be sent to:

The Nichols Children's Fund

Bank of the West

211 East Boston Ave. Indianola, Iowa 50125.

Visitation for Nichols is from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Overton Funeral Home in Indianola.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, at the Assembly of God Church in Indianola.

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