Vickrey takes over as Fire Chief

There’s a new chief in town.

At the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2022, the leadership of the Sapulpa Fire Department transitioned from former Chief David Taylor to new Chief James Vickrey.

James Vickrey

“James (Vickrey) has been a key part of my team during my tenure as Chief,” said Taylor. “(He) was the obvious choice to be the next Sapulpa Fire Department Chief. James, along with the rest of the staff are second to none. I would expect great things from James during his tenure as Chief.”

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Newly-promoted Chief James Vickrey, stands with outgoing Chief David Taylor at his last call ceremony this week. Vickrey says that Taylor has been “such a great mentor and prepared me to take over.”

While serving Sapulpa, Vickrey has held the title of Firefighter, Driver, Top Relief Captain and became Fire Marshal in May 2015.

“(Taylor) has been such a great mentor and prepared me to take over,” Vickrey said.

Vickrey became a Sapulpa firefighter in July 2005 as part of the crew at the new fire station on Hwy 66.

LAST CALL FOR CHIEF TAYLOR – Firefighters gather around the Chief Taylor (centered, white hat) at his official last call ceremony celebrating his retirement after 33 years with the Sapulpa Fire Department. Chief Taylor said that while he’s very proud of what he’s accomplished in his career, he sees a bright future for Sapulpa’s finest. “I see no reason this department won’t continue on to do even bigger and better things under Chief Vickrey,” he said.

He grew up in Jenks, graduated from Glenpool High School, and his career began as a volunteer firefighter in Glenpool. Vickrey said that is where he fell in love with the comradery between firefighters, much like an athletic team.

Currently, there are 53 crew members and administrative staff in the Sapulpa Fire Department. In 2021 the four stations made approximately 5,300 runs within the city limits. Vickrey said that is about 500 more than in 2020.

Vickrey looks forward to completing project begun under Taylor.

As part of the G.O. Bond passage in 2021, Station 3 is being rebuilt near South Main Street, as well as the refurbishment of two fire vehicles and the purchase of a new ladder truck to replace an aging one.

Vickrey speaks at Chief Taylor’s last call ceremony. Seated, left to right, are former Chief David Taylor, Training Chief Josh Wood, and Fire Marshal Rodney Bell. 

The new Training Center and administrative offices will occupy the site near the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum. One of his short-term goals is to secure additional grant funding to help complete the project.

Vickrey said another goal is to relocate the Central Station from Dewey to Hwy 117 in order to provide consistent coverage across Sapulpa. Currently, some coverage areas overlap and the southeast section of town is lacking.

The department has top-notch equipment due to Taylor’s ability to secure grant funding, Vickrey said. Including a $400,000 grant to purchase a new Breathing Apparatus for each firefighter.

A future goal for Vickrey is to add Advanced Life Support (ALS) personnel and equipment to the engines. This higher level of paramedic training would provide more tools in an emergency medical situation.

By offering additional services to the citizens of Sapulpa, the department would in turn provide increased support for Creek County Ambulance and EMSA.

Vickrey said he couldn’t ask for a better group of firefighters to work with. Brett Pennington is Deputy Chief, Rod Bell is moving into the Fire Marshall position and Nathan Kragel will become assistant Fire Marshal.

He would like to hire two firefighters and will hold testing in February. For application information, visit the Quick Link section of the Sapulpa Fire Department page on sapulpaok.gov.