Muskogee Fire Chief Derrell Jones said he will retire at the end of July after more than 36 years of service to Muskogee.
“It was my destiny to be a fireman. It has been unbelievable, and I am truly grateful for God giving me the opportunity to show what I am capable of and who I am as a person,” Jones said.
Jones’ career with the Muskogee Fire Department began in 1985 when he answered a help wanted ad in the Muskogee Daily Phoenix looking for people to work at the fire station. His first job with the department was that of a firefighter, then a driver, before being promoted to captain, to training officer, to assistant fire marshal, to marshal and eventually to chief.
“My best memories of working with the Muskogee Fire Department are when I was hired by Fire Chief Marshal Beard in April of 1985, and then when I was hired by City Manager Mike Miller as fire chief in August of 2019,” Jones said.
Jones developed a passion for investigating fires. His curiosity was sparked as a child after losing his grandmother in a house fire. The fire was ruled arson, but a perpetrator was never identified or charged with the crime.
“Sometimes I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I loved digging through a fire scene in the wee hours of the morning and figuring out the origin and cause,” Jones said.
The City of Muskogee has begun the process of searching for someone to fill his shoes and hopes to have a new fire chief in place soon.
“I hope that the Muskogee Fire Department continues to thrive, grow and protect the citizens of Muskogee the same way it has for over 125 years,” Jones said.
The City of Muskogee is planning a reception in his honor on July 30.