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KGOU and our Oklahoma Public Media Exchange partners' coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing at the 20th anniversary and beyond.

Jon Hansen, Oklahoma City Fire Spokesman During Murrah Bombing, Dies

Retired Oklahoma City assistant fire chief and spokesman Jon Hansen.
Oklahoma Watch
Retired Oklahoma City assistant fire chief and spokesman Jon Hansen.

Retired Oklahoma City assistant fire chief Jon Hansen died Friday morning at his home in Oklahoma City after a battle with cancer.

Hansen served as the public information officer for the department on April 19, 1995. 168 people died in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

"Chief Hansen was a well-respected fire service leader, not only within the Oklahoma City Fire Department, but throughout the state and the nation,” District Chief Benny Fulkerson said in a statement. “His positive influence will be missed, but the impact he made on those who knew him will be a permanent one.  His contagious, positive demeanor truly touched many hearts and lives over the years."

Gov. Mary Fallin, who was Oklahoma's lieutenant governor in 1995, called Hansen an "instrumental figure" in Oklahoma City's recovery after the bombing.

"His calm voice reassured everyone who was watching that process with an implied promise that we could overcome the terror of that tragic morning," Fallin said in a statement. "He personified the Oklahoma Standard before we had even put a name to it. He will be missed.”

Hansen first joined the department in 1973, and retired after a 26-year career. At the time of his death, he served as the executive director of the Oklahoma Council of Firefighter Training, according to his obituary in The Oklahoman:

Hansen was a published author as well as a firefighter. He wrote Oklahoma Rescue, his memoirs of the event, while off duty. It was published just over two months after the bombing. Hansen was also nominated by President George W. Bush in April 2002 to head the U.S. Fire Administration, but asked that his name be withdrawn so that he could spend more time with his family after his retirement from the fire department. The job would have forced Hansen to live near Washington, D.C. while his daughter, then 9 years old, remained in Oklahoma City. Hansen chose instead to continue working as the general manager of an Oklahoma City emergency vehicle and equipment retailer and manager of a crisis communications and public relations company.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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