Oklahoma State President Kayse Shrum received a framed picture of the new OSU branded ladder truck by The City of Stillwater and Stillwater Fire Department Monday afternoon.

Group pic

Left to right:

Deputy City Manager Melissa Reames, Mayor Will Joyce, OSU President Kayse Shrum, and Stillwater Fire Chief Terry Essary pose for a picture Monday afternoon after giving Shrum a photo of the new ladder truck as a gift. 

Dawn Jones, the City Public Information Officer, said this was given to Shrum to celebrate the continued collaboration and support between the university and The City.

“We appreciate Oklahoma State University and leadership for their continued support of our emergency responders, fire, police, emergency management, (and) all of our different entities,” Jones said. “They are always very supportive.”

Stillwater Fire Chief Terry Essary was the one who came up with the gift idea.

“The original idea was – before game days, they have the stadium lit up orange – I thought, 'man that would be so cool if we could get our truck up there' … that would be beautiful if it was up at night with the glow in the background,” he said.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the glow in the background, but they did schedule a date to take a photograph.

Essary wanted the picture to be framed for its administration building. After looking at it, he said it would be a great gift to give Shrum.

“Since OSU was a big partner in this and Boone Pickens was in the background, I thought they definitely need a picture of this,” he said. “That would be a cool thing to do … it was just a thank you gift.”

Essary said he also appreciates the county for its part in getting the new ladder truck since it was costly.

In Jan. 2020, former Fire Chief Tom Bradley spoke to the city council on the reasons behind needing to replace their 23-year-old ladder truck. The truck has a higher spray capacity, 100-foot horizontal ladder reach, a 500-gallon water tank, and can pump up to 2,000 gallons per minute.

The ladder truck cost $1 million, Essary said.

Earlier reporting by the News Press said funding for the ladder truck came from these sources:

•Fire General Fund - $200,000

•Rural Fire Fund - $300,000

•OSU Cost Share - $200,000

•Payne County Fire Fund - $300,000

“County played a huge role in us getting that truck. A lot of money from the county tax went in to help purchase that truck,” Essary said. “We are just as thankful for the cooperation and support from the county as well because it takes all sides working together to make something like that happen.”

The new ladder truck is primarily used for high-rise buildings, typically seven stories and above, but he said it’s mainly used around campus.

“That’s one of the big customers for it. Also, the apartments around town that are going up, the hotels that are four stories,” he said. “I consider anything above three stories as high-rise just because it’s going to take a lot of personnel, and it just takes … different tactics than what we normally use for a regular house fire.”

Although the ladder truck is used mainly on the campus and surrounding buildings, it’s not stored at Station No. 2 due to its height.

“So in order for it to fit around all the tight streets around campus – well, just neighborhoods in general – we had to make it shorter, which means everything also gets taller,” he said. “ Because we couldn’t go with less equipment. We just had to compact it, which means it has to move out or move up, so it moved up.”

Essary said the ladder truck is about a foot taller than their old truck. He said the truck being taller is another reason they need to relocate and build a new station No. 2.

Currently, the ladder truck is approximately five minutes away from campus. Still, Essary said their response time isn’t affected by this since Stillwater is small enough for them to get to locations quickly.

“Honestly, we want it closer. Closer is always better, but luckily, with the route of travel, we can still get to those buildings fairly quickly,” he said. “ But again, quicker is always better … service is not going to be compromised in any way.”

Essary said if a new station is built further north, that will help the Insurance Service Organization rating decrease. The rating is a two, and he would like it to be a one.

Fire departments across the country are graded by the Insurance Service Organization(ISO) on everything from their response times to equipment. This ultimately lowers insurance costs for residents.

He said the closer they are in road miles to high-rise buildings earns the department more ISO points.

Essary said the ladder truck isn’t something they have to use all the time, but it’s something they can’t do without when they need it. The purchase of the ladder truck wouldn’t have been possible without the partnership between The City, County, and OSU.

He said the collaboration between all entities is “incredibly important.”

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