January 2014 Meeting – Program: History of the Santa Ana Fire Department – Speaker: Roberta Reed

Restored 1926 fire engine in front of SA Fire Museum. Photo courtesy Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society

Guest speaker Roberta Reed will lecture on the history of the Santa Ana Fire Department on Thursday, January 9, 2014, 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Founded in 1883, SAFD’s first fire house was built on the west side of Sycamore Street, between Third and Fourth Streets. By 1970, SAFD included 200 members and nine stations. The fire department was disbanded by the City of Santa Ana on April 20, 2012 due to budget constraints, and fire services were contracted with the Orange County Fire Authority.

Roberta has had a connection to SAFD from her early years, with Santa Ana Station 5 being the station where her father spent a good part of his career. A long-time treasurer of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society, she was instrumental in negotiating the agreement between the City and Orange County Fire Authority to transfer the Santa Ana Fire Museum to SAHPS and continue to house it in Station 5. In May 2013, a signed license agreement between SAHPS and OCFA allowed the Museum to operate in OCFA Station 75. A grand opening for the Museum was held on Saturday, August 24, 2013, and the public was invited to view its extensive collection of artifacts from the 1880s to the 1960s.

Born in St. Joseph Hospital and raised in Santa Ana, Roberta is an Environmental, Health and Safety manager at 3M where she has been employed for the past 15 years. Her deep involvement in the history of Santa Ana is evidenced in her numerous “outside” efforts. Author of Arcadia Publishing’s Santa Ana: 1940-2007 (Images of America: California), Roberta organized the City’s first walking tours; chaired numerous home and garden tours, and cemetery tours for SAHPS, and was involved in the grassroots effort to save the Howe-Waffle House during the Orange County bankruptcy.

Roberta celebrates her 23rd wedding anniversary with husband Nathan in the week she delivers her program to OCHS. The family’s home includes canines Max, Cliff and Samson; a collection of glassware from the Depression era up to the 1960s; antique furniture; Santa Ana memorabilia, and fire-related items.