Picture of Fire Fighters putting water on a wood frame structure, circa 1880

Orange City originated in 1875, when Dr. Seth French, David P. Graves, John E. Stillman, William Hawley, John C. Thorpe, James M. Smith, and Allen Cameron purchased about 5,000 acres of internal improvement land that they settled on.  On August 26, 1882, Orange City, named for the thousands of acres of orange groves planted in and around the city, was incorporated as a city. Twelve years later, the Big Freeze wiped out the orange groves that the town was named for.

As an incorporated city, Orange City now had the need for fire services.  Thus, in the early 1890s, the Orange City Fire Department was born.  Consisting of only volunteers, the department had two, two-wheeled carts with hose that they used to put out fires.  A long rope allowed them to be drawn by the volunteer fireman.  These fire carts were kept in a small building, which is now a City park.  A large bell served as a fire alarm to alert the volunteer department of a fire.  The bell system worked great, until one evening when a grazing cow managed to get a hold of the rope that rang the bell.  Getting tangled in the rope, the cow rang the alarm hard and fast as his four legs and bucking head could ring it.  The volunteer fireman rushed all over looking for the fire; instead they found a tangled cow, which they quickly freed.  Today, the bell is located at fire station 67, for historical purposes only.

In 1928, with the construction of Town Hall, the fire department moved into the building and parked their trucks in a bay which is now enclosed and used as the City’s Utilities and Development Services Department.  This was also the same year that the Orange City Fire Department volunteers petitioned the City Council to receive compensation for their services. They requested $1.00 per man for each day fire, $1.50 per man for each night fire, and $0.50 per man for each drill or false alarm.  The Council approved their pay plan.

In 1980, the Fire Department moved to their current location and in 1985, they hired their first full-time firefighter.   Today, the Orange City Fire Department has two fire stations, 67 and 68, and provides fire services for the City of DeBary with fire station 33.  The department consists of Firefighters, Paramedics, Officers and Administrative staff. The department’s stations each have an Advanced Life Support (ALS) engine staffed with two firefighters (one being a Paramedic) 24 hours a day. Additionally, a peak load EMS quick response vehicle is staffed with two firefighters that provide ALS from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The staffing is supplemented through the use of reserve firefighters.

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