Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department

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Jul 18, 2024

The Passing of Robert L. Burrows
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By Administrative Brooke Thompson
November 13, 2023

It is with great sadness that the Silver Spring, Maryland Volunteer Fire Department (SSFD) announces the passing of Robert L. "Bob" Burrows, Gear Number 147. Bob was a legend in the SSFD community, having earned his Life Member status in 1980. He served in the U.S. Air Force and dedicated many years to his service at SSFD. Bob passed away at the age of 87.

The vehicle identifier - 'Car 13' - had an extraordinary meaning to those in Silver Spring for many years. That was the maintenance shop truck (once a large Ford walk-in type vehicle followed by several smaller pick-ups), specifically devoted to keeping our apparatus fleet in tip-top shape. The late Captain Bob Tierney, Superintendent of Machinery by title, and Bob Burrows worked tirelessly to see that all vehicles and equipment were adequately maintained.

▪How RLB came to be affiliated with the department…

In Montgomery Hills decades ago, a gasoline filling station situated at the northeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Dale Drive (once called Columbia Blvd. -which becomes Seminary Road on the west side of Georgia Ave.) – down the hill from today's Station 19 was the Mazzullo Brothers Texaco. It's where the SSVFD had a '47 Seagrave pumper stationed for some years before Station 19 was built (dedicated, January 1960).

Each day, one of the Seagrave pumpers from Station 1 would be driven up Georgia Avenue to the filling station to help better facilitate daytime responses. That Texaco station also had a 24-hour towing service operation. The old gas station site is now a county-owned public parking lot.

A young Robert L. "Bob" Burrows worked at that service station and became interested in the fire department due to the pumper being there. Bob later became a 'paid man' with the SSFD and remained active for many years as a life-long volunteer. He would end up living at old Station 1 and then new Station 16 for decades (both also where department vehicle repair facilities were located).

Many years ago, the term "Preventative Maintenance" became an everyday term used by the department. In later years, maintenance personnel would be civilian employees employed by the county. Silver Spring's vehicle repair activity originally started in the rear garage of old Station 1. With the opening of new Station 16 in 1968, Tierney and Burrows shifted all maintenance operations out to Four Corners; they were later joined by others working in the Shop, typically part-time.

Bob maintained his active affiliation with the department for over 60 years. A few photos from the past are included below.

A celebration of life will be hosted at Fire Station 16, 111 University Blvd East, Silver Spring, Md 20901on Sunday, December 10, 2023, from 12p-3p. Light fare will be provided. Parking for the service will be available at the station and next door at Blair High School,
51 University Blvd East, Silver Spring, Md 20901

Attachment Burrows PEN Update.pdf  (203k)

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