MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 30, 2013

Firefighter withstood heat, climbed career ladder

From green recruit to assistant chief in 33 years

(Continued)

Meet Stanley Perkins

AGE: 55.

HOMETOWN: Muskogee.

CAREER: Assistant Muskogee fire chief.

EDUCATION: Jefferson, Douglas and Grant Foreman elementary schools, Alice Robertson Junior High, Muskogee High School 1977; University of Central Oklahoma, 1981.

FAMILY: Wife, Juanda Perkins; two stepchildren, Andrea Vann and Ron Givens.

CHURCH: Rayfield Baptist Church.

HOBBIES: Walking, a little photography, disc jockey for weddings.

Memories of

a long career

Stanley Perkins started working with the fire department right out of college.

“I found out they were hiring at the fire department,” he said. “I did a little running, did push-ups and sit-ups and went down and took that written test. I passed, and they let me take the physical test and I passed.”

One of his early fires was at his parents’ house.

“It seemed the truck wouldn’t go fast enough,” Perkins recalled, adding that the fire ended up being nothing but smoke coming from an air conditioner.

Perkins joined the fire department in the days when firefighters would stand and hang onto the firetruck on the way to a fire.

“It was exciting but dangerous,” he said. “It was good in the summertime, but in the winter time it was terrible. It just had a big steel bar that ran across the truck. We’d  hang our hats on the fire wrench, then when alarms come in, we’d jump on the truck, put our hip boots on first, get one arm in the coat, hold on to the bar and try to swing that other arm in there while we were pulling out of the garage. There would be a tarp on the back, covering the hose, and we’d get up under the tarp, get out of the wind and try to get the rest of our gear on as we were going down the street.”

He said they would hang on in rain, sleet or snow.

“I remember being back there when a thunderstorm was going on or it was snowing,” he said. “Our hands would get black and blue holding on to that bar.”

Fire trucks now have seats in the back and a full cab.

Perkins spent seven years as a private, then 13 years as a driver. He spent 10 years as a captain.

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