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City of Bartlesville

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 11:42 AMUpdated: Apr 19, 2019 12:34 PM

Bartlesville Fire Dept. Remembers OKC Bombing Victims

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Garrett Giles

24 years have past since a bombing devastated Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City Bombing is seen by many as the deadliest terrorist attack in United States history before the Sept. 11 attacks six years later.

168 people died in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19th, 1995. 15 children were included in the death toll. 680 others were injured in the blast.

Bartlesville Fire Department Training Chief and Public Information Officer Bill Hollander said the blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius. He said there was approximately $652 million in damage following the attack.

Extensive rescue efforts were made by local, State, Federal and worldwide agencies. Hollander and others remembered the fallen in a ceremony held at the Central Fire Station Friday morning.

Bartlesville Fire Fighters that assisted in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing 24 years ago were also recognized.

Captain Steve Robinson, Capt. Larry Conditt and Capt. John McMillian were honored. Equipment Operators Billy Phillips and Danny Peters. Also honored were firefighters Bobby Tallchief, James Majors, Bret Chew, Doug Lay, Tony McCammon and David Topping.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial sets on the site of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Rememberances at the National Memorial are held at the same time the blast occurred.

Within 90-minutes of the explosion, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over by Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Charles Hanger for driving without a license plate. McVeigh was arrested for illegal weapons possession.

Forensic evidence quickly linked Terry Nichols and McVeigh to the attack. The two created an ANNM explosive device and mounted it in a rented Ryder truck. That ruck was then parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the explosion soon followed. The bombers were charged and convicted in 1997.

An Elm tree that is growing in front of the Bartlesville Central Fire Station acts as a reminder to the growth Oklahoma has made since the tragedy long ago.

PIO Hollander said the Elm came as a sappling from an 80-year-old American Elm tree that was the lone survivor of the bombing site. Seeds are collected every year and driven 90-miles west to a nursery in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Hollander said the seeds are germinated and nursed into small, healthy sapplings that are then donated to communities around America. He said as the tree at the Central Fire Station continues to grow strong in Bartlesville, it will be a symbol of strength, perserverance and the overcoming of adversity to all.

The Bartlesville Fire Department’s Honor Guard stood proudly by the elm for the duration of the ceremony. The BFD Honor Guard retired the colors in the end, letting the elm stand proudly on its own.

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