Family of fallen firefighter spends day in Fort Wayne

Cindy, John and Julian Fankhanel visit the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum.
Cindy, John and Julian Fankhanel visit the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The family of a German firefighter killed in a fire two years ago spent the day with the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

The Fankhanel’s day started today at the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Local 124 Union Hall where they had lunch and could meet with other firefighters. They also got to visit the Fort Wayne firefighters museum and met with Mayor Tom Henry.

Cindy Fankhanel said everyone has been so welcoming and friendly and she feels right at home as if the firefighters here are family.

While they have a very full itinerary of visiting fun Fort Wayne landmarks and even going to Washington DC next week, the reason for this trip isn’t forgotten. It is in honor and memory of Dirk Fankhanel, their husband and father. Dirk had always dreamed of visiting the United States and seeing how the fire service works here. Now, thanks to donations from the community and the hard work of some Fort Wayne firefighters, Cindy and her sons are fulfilling his dream. They also hope it helps with their own healing process.

“I hope so, yes. I hope for my children’s healing process that they see there are so many people that support us that think about us and I think it will help,” Cindy said.

John, 12, is Cindy and Dirk’s oldest son. He said his favorite part of the trip so far was at the airport Wednesday night and seeing all the people there to welcome them.

Julian, 6, said his favorite parts so far are the museum and the USA tattoos they got in a welcome basket.

Friday the family will have breakfast at Cindy’s Diner and visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. provides commenting on many stories to allow for constructive discussion. In order to comment, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms and Conditions. Anyone violating these terms, including the use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinion of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, flag it so our moderators can review.

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