Oak Grove Fire Department Stopping Service To Fair Oaks
WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma - A disagreement between fire districts now has people in Fair Oaks wondering, will they still have fire protection come July?
The Oak Grove Fire Department currently serves that area, but said it will stop service this summer because they're not getting paid for it.
The disagreement is a complicated one, so the citizens of Fair Oaks met in Catoosa to discuss what it all means for them.
Essentially, it all comes down to one question: Will Oak Grove Fire keep serving Fair Oaks?
Dave Rowe lives in Fair Oaks, and according to a letter from the Oak Grove Fire Department, that means, starting this summer, he and his neighbors won't have fire protection from them.
"All of a sudden we're faced with the fact that Oak Grove is no longer going to serve us," Rowe said.
Oak Grove currently runs all of Fair Oaks' medical and fire calls - even though it's a Wagoner County entity, and a chunk of Fair Oaks lies in Rogers County.
Serving Fair Oaks is causing the fire department's insurance rating to spike, which is costly for the department.
So, according to Fair Oaks Boar Char, Walter Sunny, essentially, “We're gonna divorce, you could say."
Sunny said they started collecting money to establish its own fire district three years ago.
In the meantime, Oak Grove firefighters have continued to serve Fair Oaks, but the town is not paying for their services, saying they can't afford it.
“It'd be a third of our budget, and, therefore, we couldn't. There's no way we could operate," Sunny said.
Plus, he said, state law reportedly states certain fire departments aren't supposed to cross county lines for primary calls.
Rowe said, "That's my concern is having adequate fire protection in a timely fashion. I'm an old man, what if I need 911?"
Fair Oaks' town leaders said Catoosa Fire has agreed to fill in and serve Fair Oaks starting in July, if necessary.
Oak Grove Fire officials said they're happy to keep serving Fair Oaks as long as they're compensated for it.