Oakhurst Fire Department shuts down

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Reported by: Sara Whaley
Updated: 10/29/2013 12:52 am Published: 10/29/2013 12:45 am

A local town is now without a fire department.

FOX23 told you earlier this month, the Oakhurst Fire Department was out a fire truck, and it proved to be the breaking point.

The fire board voted Monday evening to shut the doors for good, and firefighters tell FOX23 it's disappointing, but not surprising.

It was the job that changed Samuel Tinker's life.

"I really wanted to fit in somewhere," he told FOX23. "So I came here and volunteered at the department and became best friends with everyone."

FOX23 spoke with him before the decision was made to close, but he and his fellow firefighters knew what was coming.

"I want to help people in the community, and we've worked so hard for it," Tinker said.

"It just seems like it's being taken away from us," firefighter Bobby Blansett added.

District 2 County Commissioner Karen Keith said it was time for the department to close.

"I have been dealing with this for four years," she said Monday. "It's just very inconsistent, whether they have enough numbers. The lack of training is just horrific."

Firefighters say that's because of past leadership, but that they were now making strides in the right direction.

"We had the next couple of months set up for training … the proper training we did need," Blansett told FOX23.

However, training only was part of the equation.

The department didn't have much community support and that meant there wasn't much funding.

"It's such a tiny area," Keith said. "It's just problematic in terms of ever having enough dollars to run it and make it be successful."

Whether it was the right decision or not, firefighters left the Oakhurst Fire Department Monday night knowing it was the end of an era.

Firefighters tell FOX23 the department is officially closed beginning Tuesday, but they keep the building until the new year.

After that, we've learned it could be turned into a community center.

As for the residents of Oakhurst, Keith tells FOX23 they will be in better hands.

Berryhill, Sapulpa and Tulsa fire departments will divide Oakhurst's area.

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