The first rescue squad was developed by New York City in 1915.  The purpose was to provide extra muscle, skills, and specialized tools to help save people at fires and other calamities.  Among the specialized equipment assigned to the rescue squad were self-contained breathing apparatus – enabling firefighters to use hose and other tools in situations, like smoky fires, where there is no air.  WFD copied the rescue squad model in 1928, with its first “Emergency Squad”.

Here are 5 fire fighters wearing Proto and Mcaa self contained breathing masks, standing beside a LaFrance Hose Wagon in the 1929 Commemorative book for the annual meeting of the Canadian Fire Chief’s Association in Winnipeg.

We also have another photo from the newspaper on August 29, 1928, that shows a new Reo Speed Wagon as the first Squad Wagon for the Fire Department, in front of No. 1 Station. This wagon also carried hose and ladders like regular hose wagons do. To add to the consternation, the 1928 License Registration shows the Reo firstly as a Rescue Squad and under this, it is shown as a Foamite wagon.

On September 4th 1928 City council awarded a contract to MacKay-Morton for the supply of two Foamite generators and one ton of Foam Powder, and it seems that the Chief decided that it was more important to have the Foam on the new truck, instead of committing the new truck for Rescue work.

In 1930 the Chief was allowed to purchase a Hudson truck that was made into the second Squad Wagon [Rescue] and it was converted to the shop supply truck in 1933 and remained as such until after the war.

In 1933 the City Council allowed the Chief to purchase a Diamond T truck from the City Hydro for $1000.00, which became the third Rescue No. 1 in the department. All of these early trucks bought for this purpose, were always designated as Rescue No. 1, until the 1950’s when the department expanded the concept with a second Rescue and later to 3, with one for each district.

After amalgamation of the area Fire Departments, the concept has been further expanded to 4 in 1978, and to 6 at the present time, with two of the vehicles specifically equipped, one for Water rescue, and one for high angle work, as well as their regular responsibilities.

Make & Model

Serial #

In Service

Additional notes



Purchased 08/1928

2 ton – 6 cylinders 
Open cab – rear body on chassis built at Repair Shop also carried hose and short ladders as a hose wagon. 
Converted to Foamite Wagon in same year.

#1 2nd HUDSON


Purchased 1930

2 ton – 6 cylinders 
Open cab – rear body built in Repair shop 
Also carried hose and ladders. 
Converted to service wagon in 1933.

#1 3rd DIAMOND T


Purchased 1933

2 ton  6 cylinders 
Purchased from City Hydro for $1000.00 
Listed for Registration as a 1932 model 
Converted to Hose Wagon # 4  in 1937 
Used as a spare until conversion to a Foamite 1945 until 1955 when it was converted to a Deluge Wagon.

#1 4th Diamond T

Purchased 1936

2 ton 6 cylinders 
Purchased from Bolton Motors with Ingersol-Rand compressor attached. 
Purchase price $4122.00 with trade-in of Reo Speed Wagon Hose Wagon 
Listed as a spare in 1961

#2 Diamond T

Purchased 1950

2 ton 6 cylinders
Purchased from Bolton Motors – chassis and cab only
Rear end enclosed with cab, built in Repair shop 
Listed as a spare in 1968 
Disposed before 1970

#3 Ford

Purchased 1959

8 cylinders V8 Automatic transmission. 
Purchased as chassis and tilt cab, rear portion enclosed but separate from cab, built in Repair shop. Disposed before 1971

#4 Ford


Purchased 1960

8 cylinders V8 Standard transmission

#3 Ford


Purchased 1959

8 cylinders V8 Automatic transmission. 
Purchased as chassis and tilt cab, rear portion enclosed but separate from cab, built in Repair shop. Disposed before 1971

#4 Ford


Purchased 1960

8 cylinders V8 Standard transmission

#5 Ford

Purchased 1961

8 cylinders V8 Automatic transmission 
Listed as spare in 1972.

#1 G.M.C.

Purchased 1969

Grumman all enclosed with sliding doors.

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