The Santa Ana (CA) Fire
The History of Firehouse #5
Home of Engine Company 5,
Truck Company 5, Santa Ana Medic 5, and the Museum
120 W. Walnut (near Main and 1st Streets)
For further information on visiting the Santa Ana Fire Department Museum please contact Mary Melendrez at (714) 647-5774.
The need for a centralized fire station was proposed in 1948 to keep pace with the growth of the City of Santa Ana. The land at 120 W. Walnut was purchased and the drawings for the building completed in 1950. Because of the Korean War effort, the actual construction was delayed until then Chief John Garthe was able to lobby the politicians in Washington DC to release the necessary iron to complete the project.
On April 29, 1952, the National Protection Authority granted the permit to build the station. The cost of the building was $304,975. The building contract was awarded to the South Coast Construction Company of Newport Beach.
Firehouse 5 was originally constructed of reinforced concrete to withstand the ravages of time and to serve as an emergency Civil Defense shelter. The building has a full basement, which was originally designed to house the Fire Department stores and the emergency operations center (EOC). The firemen have recently converted the EOC into the station gym.
The ground floor housed the motorized apparatus and the administrative offices for the department. The second floor housed the living quarters for the firefighters, and included a kitchen, day room, library, lockers, and bath facilities for a daily population of 11 personnel.
The third floor was constructed to accommodate the radio dispatch center for the entire department including the monitoring devices for the Gamewell box alarm system found on street corners throughout the city.
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© Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society