NICHOLS, Iowa–The Nichols Volunteer Fire Department got one step closer to purchasing additional new air packs and a brush truck April 14 when City Clerk and Treasurer Aeneas Schmitz announced that the city had received a USDA grant. The grant provides the department with $28,000 to use for the air packs, brush truck, and any additional supplies the truck will need, so long as the city pays an additional $52,000 towards the project. The department will have five years to fully use the grant money and report on its purchases.
In March, citizens in West Liberty expressed concern about the future of West Liberty Fire and Ambulance after the West Liberty City Council placed discussion about hiring a full time fire chief on the agenda without first mentioning it to the volunteer fire department. This led to broad speculation online about possible changes to the department and its ability to honor mutual aid agreements. The City of West Liberty issued a press release denying they planned to make any serious changes, but some citizens remained concerned. Out of an abundance of caution, the City of Nichols plans to send a formal inquiry to West Liberty Fire and Ambulance to make sure they can honor their agreement.