Our History

Heritage of a Noble Profession

Our story begins and continues with the men and women who have dedicated their lives to helping people. The heritage of fire fighting has always been one of bravery, loyalty, and devotion to public service. This is a personal calling that places one's life in jeopardy every day, which makes the career of fire fighting truly a proud profession.
Older Fire Station Staff and Building
  1. Timeline
  2. Detailed History
  3. Past Fire Chiefs
  4. Annual Reports


The fire department was housed in the Fire Hall built for $467 and located at:

122 S. Olive

Orange, CA 92866

The volunteers actually owned the Fire Hall and contracted with the city for its use. They answered calls with a horse-drawn hook and ladder and 2 hand-drawn carts. But in 1912, the department acquired a Seagrave pumper, the city's first motor-driven fire apparatus.


The first fire alarm system was introduced to the City. It consisted of 15 telegraph boxes which were installed around Orange. This system remained in use until 1964.


They acquired their first paid fireman, William Vickers, who lived upstairs at the Fire Hall for $8 a month rent. He was on duty round the clock until 1917 (3 years!!!) when D.C. "Doc" Squires was hired to spell him.

The Fire Hall was used as the fire department's headquarters until November 1935 when a new facility was opened at:

 153 South Olive Street

Orange, CA 92866

To the chagrin of the department, it eventually burned down.


The first motorized fire engine in Orange County, an American LaFrance fire truck capable of pumping 1000 gallons a minute, was purchased for $13,000 by the Orange Fire Department. It is affectionately referred to as "ALF." The City's first full-time fire chief, Chief George Horton, was hired in 1925 as a volunteer fire fighter and was promoted to fire chief in 1952. Chief Horton was instrumental in leading the department into both its early expansion and changeover from a volunteer to career fire department.


The last six volunteers of the Orange City Fire Department retired and the department became a fully paid entity.


Orange became one of the first fire departments in Orange County to provide emergency paramedic services utilizing personnel from the first paramedic training class to ever be held. City Manager David Rudat was a member of that class.

History Through Photos

Historical photo
Men surrounding fire vehicles in the distance underneath tall trees
Men surrounding fire vehicle
Fire Staff by trucks
Fire Staff
Fire Staff
Fire Staff
City of Orange Water Tower