As 2019 drew to a close, Pawhuska’s fire station was undergoing much-needed improvements. A new, pitched roof had been installed over the fire truck bays. It replaced a flat roof that had become leaky. The process of enlarging the front and rear openings for one of the truck bays, and installing new doors on that bay, had begun.


When Fire Chief Gip Allen talked last week to the Journal-Capital, he explained that a new 14-foot opening had been cut on the front of the bay for the department’s ladder truck. This was a two-foot increase in the opening size. A similar, 14-foot opening was very soon to be cut on the back of the bay, and then an overhead door company would come in and install the new bay doors, Allen said. Bill Lott, of Bartlesville, has been the main contractor for the project, Allen said.


“The old roof leaked bad,” Allen said regarding the roof that was replaced. The old roof had been in place since the construction of the fire station in 1977, he said.


The cost of the truck bay project is $49,500, with $25,000 of that covered by a grant obtained through INCOG (the Indian Nations Council of Governments), he said. Getting the ladder truck stored inside the fire station was the key objective addressed by the grant, he said.


The ladder truck is a 2000 model, purchased used from the city of Tulsa in 2018, Allen said. It replaced a truck that dated back to the 1970s, he said.


Prior to the current fire station improvement project, the ladder truck acquired from Tulsa had to be stored outside at the fire station, or when possible it was stored indoors at the municipal shop, Allen said.


There will eventually need to be a roof-replacement project for the portion of the fire station that contains the administrative office and the living quarters, Allen said. That roof, which is flat, is leaky, he said.


2019 also saw the Pawhuska Fire Department receive new bunker gear and wildland fire gear for its firefighters. Wind-farm operator Enel Energy contributed financially toward those purchases, sharing the cost with city government.