Muskogee Fire Chief Mike O’Dell announced his retirement late yesterday after serving more than 30 years.
O’Dell joined the force in 1989 after deciding to “just give it a try.”
O’Dell received a host of certifications that helped push him up the ranks over the years from rope rescue and HazMat operations to becoming a certified Emergency Medical Services instructor. In 2012, O’Dell advanced to Captain and shortly thereafter became the department’s training officer. He was ultimately selected as chief in 2016, a position he said he never dreamed he would have when he took his job all those years ago.
O’Dell, reflecting on his career, said the most significant event for him was one of his first fires – a 1990 fire at the OG&E plant in Muskogee.
“I was burned and spent some time in the burn unit and had to have skin graft surgery,” he said. “As I leave, it is my hope that the MFD continues the tradition of excellence they and the men who came before them established, continue to perfect their craft, and never take this job for granted.”
The city is set to choose a new chief before O’Dell’s last day.