Stillwater News

City of Stillwater hires new fire chief

Released:Jan 25, 2021


Stillwater Fire Chief Terry Essary

Stillwater Fire Chief Terry Essary


















(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Jan. 25, 2021) –  Following a national search, City Manager Norman McNickle announced Monday the selection of Terry Essary as Stillwater’s next fire chief.

Essary currently serves as a battalion chief and succeeds Fire Chief Tom Bradley, who retired last November.

“The Stillwater Fire Department has a long history of strong leadership built on first-hand experience and dedication to public service,” McNickle said. “Terry brings with him tremendous experience, extensive leadership and management skills, and a deep understanding of our community.”

As a member of the Stillwater Fire Department (SFD) since 1997, Essary promoted through the ranks beginning as a firefighter, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. In addition to numerous licenses and certifications, Essary earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from East Central University and is a graduate of the Oklahoma Executive Fire Officer Leadership Program and the City’s Leadership Academy. He also holds a chief fire officer designation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Essary is responsible for more than 70 employees and a $7 million annual budget. The department’s fire service area includes Oklahoma State University and Payne County and parts of Noble, Pawnee and Lincoln counties with a combined population of approximately 82,000.

“I’m humbled to lead these outstanding men and women,” Essary said. “The call to serve the public is never taken lightly and together we will work to move the department forward.”

Initially, Essary will focus on innovation, core training and public outreach. “It’s widely known that SFD is a great fire department, and I plan to continue guiding the department to the highest levels of service and safety.”

McNickle said, “I’m pleased Terry has accepted this new challenge. He will, no doubt, hit the ground running.”

Essary begins as chief Thursday, January 28, 2021.


Photo is available for download on the City of Stillwater PIO Flickr.

For media inquiries, contact the Department of Marketing and Civic Engagement at 405.742.8219 or email

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