The Administration Office serves as the Stillwater Fire Department's headquarters from which primary coordination and oversight of all programs and services occur. The department, which is comprised of Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical, Hazardous Materials and Fire Prevention Division, is overseen by the fire chief.
Chief Terry Essary
Terry's journey with the Stillwater Fire Department began in 1997, and he has progressed in his roles from Lieutenant, to Captain, to Battalion Chief, eventually earning his current position as Fire Chief in January of 2021.
He is a certified Paramedic and has spent seven years working with the Stillwater Police Department's Special Operations Team. Terry holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from East Central University, and he has training from the Oklahoma Executive Fire Officer Leadership Program and the City of Stillwater's leadership academy. In addition to this, He has attended training courses at the National Fire Academy, New Mexico Tech, and the Center for Domestic Preparedness.
Terry acquired the Chief Fire Officer certification from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is an active member of The Institution of Fire Engineers and currently serves in the Oklahoma Fire Chief’s Association, Executive Board.
His community involvement encompasses various committees within Stillwater, including the Stillwater Public Schools: Safe Schools and Nutrition Committee and Stillwater Younglife.
Terry and his wife Amber are parents to their son, Taylor, and daughters, Aspen and Timber.
Assistant Chief Brandon Halcomb
Brandon Halcomb is a firefighter for the Stillwater Fire Department, where he has served since December 2005. He holds a B.S. in Engineering Technology-Fire Protection and Safety and is pursuing a graduate degree from Oklahoma State University. He is an EMT-Intermediate and holds a certification in Infrastructure Protection from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
In addition to this, Brandon has attended numerous courses, including Oklahoma Municipal League Citizens Academy Leadership Training, and the National Fire Academy’s Incident Safety Officer and Chemistry for Emergency Response.
Brandon was promoted to Lieutenant in November 2011 and then to Captain in December 2013, and he has served on the Stillwater Fire Department Apparatus Committee and the City of Stillwater Safety Committee.
Brandon and his wife Starla are the proud parents to their son Eli.
Fire Marshal Thomas Tharp
Thomas Tharp began his journey with the Stillwater Fire Department on July 2, 1998, shortly after earning his Bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University. In 2011, he was honored as the Stillwater Firefighter/EMT of the Year. Thomas also participated in the Stillwater Fire Department Honor Guard as the Commander for several years.
His career advancement includes promotion to Lieutenant in 2015, followed by his appointment as Chief of Training in 2016. Thomas was promoted to Deputy Fire Marshal in August 2020 and finally to Fire Marshal for the City of Stillwater in October 2022.
Public education has been an interest of Thomas throughout his career. He began focusing on fire investigations and code enforcement in 2007. He has attended the National Fire Academy in Maryland on multiple occasions. In addition to this, Thomas attended the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training in 2021 and earned his CLEET certification in January 2022.
Thomas and his wife Melinda are devoted parents to their two daughters, Molly and Macy.
Chief of Training James Holly
James grew up in Southeast Oklahoma and joined the Navy after finishing high school. He was assigned to the USS Shasta's flying squad, where he served as the youngest Main Space Re-entry Team Leader.
With a background in Aviation Ordnance and training in firefighting and emergency response, James advanced to become a Second Class Petty Officer on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. After 9 years of active duty, James continued his service in the Oklahoma Air National Guard as a medic in the 138th Fighter Wing, deploying twice to Iraq. He retired from active duty after 24 years of military service in 2015.
James joined the Stillwater Fire Department in April 2003 and has served as a paramedic, Lieutenant Medical Officer, Lieutenant Fire Officer, and Chief of Training.
James is married to Robin and is a proud father of four children - Conner, Aurora, Oliver, and Parker.
Deputy Fire Marshall Dustan Portman
Dustan Portman began his career at the West Bryan County Volunteer Fire Department in February 2010 before transitioning to the Stillwater Fire Department in December 2011. He was promoted to Lieutenant in December 2017, to Captain in January 2021, and finally to Deputy Fire Marshal in December 2022.
With a background as a Haz-Mat Team Leader and Instructor, Dustan served as a Haz-Mat Field Instructor for OSU-Fire Service Training; he is Maz-Mat Technician and Advanced EMT. In addition, he is pursuing a degree in Public Safety Management at OSU-OKC.
Dustan is married to Erin Portman, who works as the Marketing Coordinator for Fire Protection Publications, and they're the proud parents to their two sons, Robert and Ryan.