The former Sandwich West apparatus included two commercial-chassis pumpers and a van-type emergency/rescue unit – as well as the former Sandwich West Fire Hall on the Third Concession Rd. This article will focus on the rescue vehicle. The pumpers will be profiled in a future submission.
The Sandwich West Township Fire Department covered a large suburban area southwest of Windsor. In 1959, the SWFD augmented its pumper/tanker fleet with a new rescue unit. Built on a forward-control Mercury chassis, it had a large parcel delivery type van body made by the Welles Corp., a school bus and truck body builder located in Windsor. The Emergency Unit carried a variety of rescue and other gear, responding to motor vehicle accidents as well as fires.
The low-mileage van was only six years old when Windsor annexed a large portion of Sandwich West Township on January 1, 1966. The former Sandwich West rescue unit was redesignated the W.F.D.’s Squad Car No. 2 and placed in service at the new (1964) Station 4 on College Ave. Two years later the `59 Mercury van was replaced by a new Chevrolet heavy rescue unit. Still in good condition, the van It was then reassigned to the W.F.D. water rescue dive team.
The 1960 pumper was relettered as Windsor’s Engine No. 8 and remained in the former Sandwich West hall on Third Concession Road on the city’s far south side. The `53 Bickle-Seagrave was relettered Engine 10 and assigned to Windsor’s headquarters station on Goyeau St. The 1960 International van was used as an equipment carrier, and later by the W.F.D. dive team.