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Medford fire engineer wraps up an accident-free career

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Fire engineer Jon Murphy will wrap up a 28-year career with Medford Fire Department Nov. 26. Murphy had a perfect driving record during his 23 years at the rank of engineer, according to the fire chief. [Medford Fire Department photos]
Fire engineer Jon Murphy will wrap up a 28-year career with Medford Fire Department Nov. 26. Murphy had a perfect driving record during his 23 years at the rank of engineer, according to the fire chief. [Medford Fire Department photos]

After posting a sterling record driving some of Medford’s heaviest vehicles, the Medford Fire Department’s most senior firefighting engineer is gearing up for his final shift.

Fire Engineer Jon Murphy will work his final shift on Friday, Nov. 26, marking the end of a 28-year career with the fire department.

He’ll be remembered as a good-natured prankster who adjusted to numerous changes at the department over the better part of three decades, according to Chief Eric Thompson.

For 23 years, Murphy worked as a firefighter engineer who — among other mission critical duties — drove some of the largest fire engines in the department’s fleet, and in that time, never had so much as a fender bender.

Thompson called it a “pretty cool” point of pride for Murphy that took more than luck.

“Just the responsibility of driving a million dollar piece of equipment ... it’s a lot of responsibility being an engineer,“ Thompson said.

Every fire crew has an engineer who works the same shifts — two days on at a time followed by four days off — as other firefighters-paramedics on the crew, according to Thompson.

Murphy, who worked at Station 2, excelled at the “mixed bag of skill sets” needed of engineers.

Not only do engineers need to know the quickest routes around town and navigate oversized vehicles roughly 8 feet wide and dozens of feet long, they also need to know the ins and outs of the pumps they operate at the fire scene.

“Firefighters greatly depend on an engineer that knows what they’re doing,” Thompson said. “It’s a lot of moving parts.”

Operating a pump efficiently when the 750-gallon tank isn’t connected to a hydrant takes deep knowledge of hydraulics, math and different pressure settings.

“Jon had a lot of pride serving in the fire department,” Thompson said. “I really think his actions out in the field illustrated that pride.”

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.