It all started at a meeting held April 6, 1928 when a group of men living in or near Center Sandwich met and organized the Department.
Ryvers Ainger was elected the first Chief and served as such for twenty years. The department took over the old chemical equipment of the Town and busied itself putting it into workable and useable condition.
In 1929, with financial assistance from the Town, a station was erected at the east end of the horse sheds opposite the Baptist Church for the purpose of storing apparatus and conducting other activities of the Department. On August 3, 1929, the first meeting was held at the new firehouse (as it was then called).
In 1931, a new Model A Ford truck was purchased at a cost of $806.00. It was equipped for carrying the pump, hose and other equipment and in March of 1932, a compressed air whistle was purchased and installed at the station which was operated from the Central Telephone Office and repeatedly proved its worth.
The very first alarm received at the Firehouse came at noon Wednesday, August 30, 1933, when Dearborn's Store burned.
On February 27, 1934, the lower end of the Center burned, and the fire burned a total of eight stores and homes. It was the worst fire that the Town had ever seen. On March 19, 1937, a Ford V8 wheelbase chassis with closed cab was purchased for $703 and paid by the Town and Grange Fair Association.
During the war years of 1939-1945, few meetings were held and only a small crew comprised the department. After 20 years of service as Chief, Ryvers Ainger retired on January 7, 1948. Walter (Skip) Burrows was then elected Chief. Upon retirement of Skip Burrows as Chief in 1960, Lance Metcalf was elected. On April 26th, 1961, The Sandwich Volunteer Fire Department joined the Mutual Aid Program.
November 21, 1963-Engine No. 1 was delivered. In January of 1967, a new Chief was elected, Almon G. Evans, Jr. On May 31, 1967 - New call numbers and cards for the signal system were accepted. The idea of a new fire station had its beginning in January of 1968. The Department elected its 5th Chief in January 1969, Francis G. Hambrook.
At a Town meeting in March of 1971, the plans for a new Central Fire Station were approved and with the coming of spring, work began on this building as well as the Whiteface section of North Sandwich. On August 26th, 1972, the new Central Station was dedicated in memory of Ryvers F. Ainger, first Fire Chief. In July 1971 the Sandwich Volunteer Fire department Auxiliary was organized by wives of the firemen and other interested women of the community. The members are now known as the Sandwich Sirens. Also in July 1971, the Junior Fire Department was organized. Francis Hambrook retired as Chief in 1997 and Jim Mykland was elected the 6th Chief. In 2004 Louis Brunnelle became the 7th Fire Chief. Our current Fire Chief is Ted Call who came on board in 2015 and became the full-time Fire Chief in 2018.
In 1968, a committee was named to study the needs for new station facilities for the fire department. Very quickly this committee decided there was a need for an outlying station in the north end of town to cut down the response time to emergencies in that section. In planning for improved central station facilities, it was assumed that within ten years (earlier if possible), such a substation would be built. It seemed impossible that the Town could afford both stations at the same time. These thoughts were expressed to the Selectmen, Quimby Trustees, and other interested parties. During the second planning period, after the first had failed, the Tobins owners of the old Tewksberry place, suffered a total loss of their dwelling. It was felt that had the equipment been closer, perhaps the loss would have been only partial.
The Quimby Trustees requested a meeting with the fire chief at which they asked him to obtain an estimate from an architect as to the probable cost for an outlying station such as had been previously discussed. The Trustees subsequently called a meeting with the Selectmen and the Fire Chief to announce their offer to provide $15,000 for the construction of the desired station providing the Town would vote to build it. This was voted on at the 1971 town meeting, and the Arthur M. Heard Trust provided additional funds; Denly Emerson and the Robert Wrights donated the land upon which to build and Mrs. Beryl Tappan and Harland Farrar, through the efforts of Robert Peaslee, donated the gravel and fill for the site. The town road crew donated time to prepare the site.
The first meeting at the Whiteface Station was held December 19, 1971, when the 1952 truck was moved from the Center Station even though it was some time before the building was finished.
The equipment housed in the new station consisted of the 1952 Ford 500 GPM front end pumper and a converted Army 6 x 6 truck which was obtained through the Civilian Defense Agency. This truck was converted by the Whiteface Station personnel to a tank truck with a 1200 gallon capacity by utilizing an old oil truck tank donated by Robert Peaslee. The members of the fire department take great pleasure in dedicating the Whiteface Station to honorary member, Mr. Aliston Grant of Whiteface. All knew him for his consistent good nature and kindnesses, for his facile recollections of the 82 years he has lived in this area, and for his very special wife, Sylvia. Certainly no one in Sandwich has shown more consistent interest in the new fire station.