About Orland Volunteer Fire Department
The Orland Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1911 following a devastating fire which destroyed much of the downtown business district on the west side of Fourth Street. Longtime citizen Phil Noerager was chosen to be the first chief to lead a total of twenty-two charter members. Buckets were the first equipment used, with each member supplying his own.
The first firefighting apparatus of the newly formed Orland Fire Department were a wheeled chemical extinguisher and a “hook-and-ladder” cart acquired by the Department in 1912 (see cover photo inset). There exists a nostalgic tie to the hook- and-ladder cart to this day, and the Department has a fully-restored antique cart which is proudly pulled by Volunteers in many parades.
The Fire Department through the years continued to purchase new and more modern equipment to better serve and protect the community. Today, the Orland Volunteer Fire Department is proud to respond with technologically advanced equipment and a company of forty-five active volunteer firefighters. City of Orland’s ladder truck (purchased in 1980) is capable of reaching a vertical height of fifty-five feet and pumping 1000 gallons of water per minute through a completely traversable, extended boom. Prior to the acquisition of the ladder truck, the Department implemented a 55’ six-man extension ladder to reach the top of Orland’s tallest buildings. This ladder was carried on a “Maxim” fire truck, which has been fully restored by the Volunteers for unveiling at the Department’s centennial celebration.
The Orland Volunteers answer to the governing bodies of two distinct and separate units: The Orland City Fire Department (under the Orland City Council) and the Orland Rural Fire District (governed by the Orland Rural Fire District Board). While the city ire department is celebrating its centennial year, the Orland Rural Fire District is celebrating its 75th anniversary. According to historical records, the Orland Rural Fire District was formed in 1935 when a group of men gathered at a meeting for the purpose of organizing fire protection for the rural area. The charter members were Fred Lowden, Bob Gilmore, Sr., John Leonard, George Schonauer, Sr., Walter Stickler and County Supervisor Mel Haigh. The County of Glenn set aside monies to initially fund the new district, and a short time later the district’s first fire truck was purchased from the Van Pelt Company on terms.
Fighting rangeland fires requires special techniques not common to city firefighting , and the Orland Rural Fire District trucks are specially outfitted with seats and hoses on the nose of the truck to attack rural fires head-on. The 5,000 gallon tanker truck in the stable of engines owned by the City and Rural District was initially purchased by the Rural Fire District, however the City and Rural District provide mutual aid to the other when the need arises.
For one-fourth of the Department’s existence, the Volunteers were guided by the voice of Frances McCollum, the dispatcher on call 24 hours a day for emergency calls in Orland. No matter what the need, the calm, reassuring voice of Frances got many distraught callers through a most difficult time. Frances retired in 2007 having devoted twenty-five years to the Orland Volunteer Fire Department.
The following media is a recording of Frances McCollum’s last radio dispatch for Orland & Capay Volunteer Fire Departments and our transition over to Corning Fire Dispatch
00:02 Frances McCollum [Control One] second to last evening pager test for Capay and Orland fire departments (18:30 on Monday, December 3, 2007).
00:35 Narrative introduction by Ian Turnbull
01:47 Frances McCollum [Control One] final evening pager test and announcement for Capay Fire (approximately 18:30 on Tuesday, December 4, 2007).
02:52 Mike Demo [Fire Dispatch] did a pager test (unknown time and date)
03:18 Frank Rua [Fire Dispatch] first official evening pager test from Corning Fire (18:30 on Wednesday, December 5, 2007)