Garden Grove

GGFD lives on at Stanley Ranch

GGFD RETIREES Capt. Jeff Harlan and Fire Inspector Teresa Gamba in front of a 1926 American La France fire truck (OC Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

In 2019, fire and paramedic services for Garden Grove were taken over by the Orange County Fire Authority, ending nearly a century of local public safety service and history.

But the Garden Grove Fire Department is not really gone. It survives – in a sense – at the Stanley Ranch Historic Village on Euclid Street owned and staffed by the Garden Grove Historical Society.

NEARLY A CENTURY OLD at the “old” Garden Grove Fire Department museum.

On the campus of the village is a scaled-down replica of the building that housed Station 1 of the  GGFD until it was replaced by the much larger Public Safety building now located on Acacia Parkway in the Civic Center in 1972.

On Saturday, the Society hosted an open house for those who wanted to get a close-up look at the origins, legends and equipment of an era that stretched from the Roaring 20s to the Information Age.

Teresa Gamba started with the GGFD and stayed there for 25 years, retiring as a fire inspector in 2004. She grew up in Garden Grove, attended St. Columban Catholic School and after finishing up at Orange Coast College, was hired as a clerk-typist and became a fire inspector.

“This place is full of memories, full of friendships, history and the way things used to be,” she said. She wasn’t happy that the GGFD gave way to the OCFA. “It meant a lot to me.”

Bill Keen was another retired fire inspector who came back to the Historical Village for the open house. He started in 1984 and retired in 2009.

“I love it,” he said of the GGFD building. “Since the fire department went to the OCFA, its like there’s still a piece of it left.” He says he understands about the decision to make the change, but “I think they miss a component. It’s the involvement and what you know about the community that’s missing.”

Tours of the Stanley Ranch Museum are scheduled the first and third Sundays of each month (holidays are excepted) starting at 1:30 p.m.  It’s located at 12174 Euclid St., just south of Chapman Avenue. For more information, call (714) 530-8871.

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