Nichols Hills firefighters try to cope with fire chief's killing

Nichols Hills Assistant Fire Chief Terry Hamilton said the small department of 13 firefighters “has heard from just about every fire chief” in Oklahoma in the wake of the killing of Fire Chief Keith Bryan.
BY ANDREW KNITTLE aknittle@opubco.com Published: September 22, 2011
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Firefighters working the morning shift on Wednesday were flooded with calls of support and gifts in the aftermath of Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan's shooting death in Mustang.

Assistant Fire Chief Terry Hamilton said the small department of 13 firefighters “has heard from just about every fire chief in the state.”

“We've been getting calls and food and flowers all morning,” Hamilton said. “We've had offers to help from just about every department in the area. But they're firefighters … that's just what they do.”

Hamilton has been named acting chief in the wake of Bryan's death. He said it's too early for the department to think about a permanent successor.

“We're a pretty small department … pretty much like a family,” Hamilton said. “So, yeah, it's too early to think about a long-term replacement at this point.”

Fire Capt. Roger Straka said the department's firefighters are dealing with the reality of Bryan's death — and the manner in which he was killed — as well as can be expected.

“It's definitely been hard on us,” Straka said. “This is a very small department where everybody knows what's going on in each other's lives.”

‘He loved this city

and this community'

Hamilton said he has spoken with Bryan's wife, Rebecca, since the shooting Tuesday night but declined to say what they talked about.

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