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Thread: Shepherd, TexasFire Chief Dies of Line of Duty Heart Attack

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Shepherd, TexasFire Chief Dies of Line of Duty Heart Attack

    Shepherd, Texas Fire Chief Dies of Line of Duty Heart Attack

    Updated: 03-09-2005 02:23:17 PM
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    Courtesy of The Cleveland Advocate

    Livingston, TX -- Benjamin Franklin said, "Since you are not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour."

    Shepherd Fire Chief Lonnie Nicklas left this earth much too soon when he was taken by a heart attack last Thursday morning at the age of 39. Although his time was too short, it will never be said that it was wasted. Nicklas and his wife Cindy shared a passion for firefighting and for volunteering.

    The time most couples would put into selfish pursuits was spent helping others and making the community a safer place to live.

    By all accounts, Nicklas was good at whatever he chose to do. He was reportedly not just a top notch firefighter, but he was also a skilled carpenter and had been working on the family home which remains unfinished. However, from the reactions to the news of his death, it is evident that Nicklas was most successful at being a friend.

    "He wasn't just a true firefighter, he was a friend and a major asset to this community. Firefighters have the job of taking care of people in the county, but the fire chief has the job of taking care of those people and also the firefighters. "He was a fireman. He didn't do it because he got paid. It's what he loved to do." -Assistant Fire Chief Roy Pippin

    "Lonnie was always there for you when you needed him. It didn't matter what time of the day or night it was. He and his wife have given so much to this department." -Nina Dwy, fellow volunteer and friend

    "Lonnie was the most dedicated volunteer that our community has ever had. He was not just a great volunteer, but a friend to everybody." -Donnie Marrs, friend and fellow firefighter

    "I had known Lonnie for seven years. I remember when he first came in and said he wanted to join the department. I didn't know what to think of him at first, but seven years later he was our chief! We are pretty much a tight-knit family here, and Lonnie was more of a brother to me than my own brother. Lonnie gave 110 percent all the time. "He was the kind of man who would always buy groceries for someone but would never talk about doing it. He and his wife gave a tremendous amount of time to this job, taking haz-mat courses and certification classes whenever they were needed." -Chuck Thomas, certifying and training coordinator

    "He was a good friend and an excellent Chief. Lonnie took over the Shepherd VFD several years ago. He gave the members and the department direction and supported safety as a first priority. He attended many training events to better himself and others. He is a tireless person with good beliefs and goals. He turned a ragged, low morale department into one of the best in this county. He made many improvements to the department. He drafted their SOPs and was in the process of updating them when he passed away. He has been active in the community for many years and has gone out of his way to assist anyone in need. I will miss him greatly, both as a friend and as a professional acting firefighter. A big void has been left not only in his family, but likewise in the City of Shepherd and San Jacinto County." -Pct. 3 County Commissioner David Brandon

    On Monday, February 27, firefighters, family members, and friends from all over southeast Texas traveled to Livingston to bid farewell to Chief Lonnie Nicklas.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Nicklas, Lonnie Wayne

    Age: 39
    Cause of Death: Unknown
    Rank: Fire Chief
    Nature of Death: Heart Attack
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: No

    Incident Date: 02/23/2005
    Duty Type: Training
    Incident Time: 23:45
    Activity Type: Other
    Death Date: 02/24/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department
    PO Box 880
    Shepherd , Texas 77371
    Chief: Assistant Fire Chief Roy Pippin

    Initial Summary:
    Chief Nicklas conducted and participated in training activities over the period of several days and during that time had complained of a constant discomfort he described as a ?gas bubble? just above his stomach and under his heart/sternum. At approximately 2345hrs on 02/23/2005, Nicklas awoke and sat upright in bed telling his wife, a fellow firefighter/EMT, that the pain had become much worse spreading between his shoulder blades. He declined having an ambulance called but consented to be driven to the hospital. While preparing to depart the residence, Nicklas collapsed and quit breathing. His wife called 911 and initiated CPR. Other firefighters arrived with an AED and shocked him several times with no improvement. Paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later (from an adjacent town) and began advanced life support with no results. Further attempts to revive Nicklas at the hospital also met with negative results and he was pronounced dead early in the morning of 02/24/2005.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Nicklas Memorial Fund, C/O 1st State Bank, PO Box 1375, Shepherd, TX 77371

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