Oak Cliff Fire Department honoring three longtime members
The Oak Cliff Fire Department will be honoring three of its Fire Department members who have served the community for many dedicated years.
A retirement party is planned for Ken Stoops, Lowell Jenks and Jan Polhemus will be honored on March 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Oak Cliff Fire Department – Station #2, located at 12037 S Santa Fe Ave.
Chief Ken Stoops is retiring after serving 34 years with the department in many different roles including, firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Asst. Chief and Chief. Stoops held the Fire Chief position for over 14 years.
Chief Stoops was a charter member of the Oak Cliff Volunteer Fire Department. He has been instrumental in the growth and transformation of the department along with the construction of two fire stations and securing outdoor warning devices for the residents of the district.
Captain Lowell Jenks has served in many positions over the years, which include three years as Fire Chief, and many dedicated years as firefighter, Lieutenant and Captain. Captain Jenks is retiring after 31 years with the department. He has been instrumental in the growth and transformation of the department all while being a successful business man.
Recently retired firefighter Jan Polhemus served many positions on the department, one of which included serving on the board of directors and as a support group member. Polhemus is retiring after serving 23 years and will also be the first female member to retire from Oak Cliff Fire Department.
Polhemus has dedicated countless hours in her different capacities and she too was instrumental in protecting the community. She still holds a position on the Support Group. Polhemus, a successful business woman, operates A Flower Place in Edmond.
Oak Cliff Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1981 after it was realized that a quicker response was vital for the area west of I-35 and north of Waterloo Road. Initially, Woodcrest Fire Department responded to the area west of I-35 and north of Waterloo. A feasibility study was conducted and it was determined there was a need to give proper service to the citizens of the area.
Oak Cliff Estates began the process to create its own fire department and these long time dedicated members were monumental in the growth and development of what was then a small volunteer fire department. The first informational meeting was held at, then a “rookie” firefighter, Chief Stoops’ home with a member of another Title 19 Fire District.
It was decided to call the newly formed department, Oak Cliff Volunteer Fire Department (OCVFD). Most of the “founding fathers” lived in the Oak Cliff Estates subdivision and Oak Cliff’s first Fire Department was located in a small two bay building in the neighborhood.
Each volunteer paid $5 to purchase their own bunker gear. It was an old military issued bunker gear and the helmet looked like a motorcycle helmet with an additional snap on the visor and a duckbill on the back. It didn’t matter to volunteers. The first trucks in use were acquired from the Forestry Department.
In early 1982, a petition was distributed to the area residents to become a Title 19 Fire Protection District which would allow ad valorem taxes to be levied to support the fire department. In November 1982, an election was held and the majority of the voters chose to fund the new fire district.
With the help of these dedicated members, the Oak Cliff Fire Protection District has seen many positive and successful changes over the years. Currently, the district has 11 apparatus and two fire stations which employee four career firefighters and 30 volunteer firefighters. They are governed by a five member board of directors.
Annually the department responds to approximately 700 calls for service and covers approximately 36 square miles of southern Logan County.