In Memory

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Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard "Dick" Drivon
Firefighter Matt Smith
Captain Robert Walsh


Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard “Dick” Drivon

Drivon2Richard ‘Dick’ Drivon died of an apparent heart attack on April 9, 1954. He devoted half of his life to the Redwood City Fire Service.

As a native of Redwood City, he started as a volunteer in 1931. Four years later he was appointed a full time Engineer. He rose to the position of Assistant Chief Engineer and in 1946 he was promoted to Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal, thus becoming the first Fire Marshal in Redwood City.

On April 9, 1954 Chief Drivon was on the witness stand in Superior Court testifying as a key witness in an arson trial. He was testifying for the prosecution. At one point during cross-examination, Chief Drivon leaned forward and placed his head in his hands. It appeared that Fire Marshal Drivon was pondering his answer to a question. As he leaned forward the judge called for a short recess and it was then that Chief Drivon fell to the floor. The Fire Chief and the responding fire crews did everything humanly possible to try to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Sequoia Hospital.

Chief Drivon was a past president of the Peninsula Fire Marshals Association, past president of the Redwood City Firemen Association, a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and California State Firemen’s Association. He was also past president of the Native Sons of the Golden West Redwood City Parlor 66.

On September 23, 1961, a 40 foot long by 14 foot wide Surplus Coast Guard Fire Boat arrived from Port Hueneme to the port of Redwood City. The fire boat was equipped with 3 deck nozzles capable of discharging 2000 gallons per minute. The boat was dedicated and named the “Richard Drivon” in memory of the first Fire Marshal of Redwood City.

Through the efforts and initiative of present members of the Redwood City Fire Department, Chief Drivon’s name is etched on the California Firefighter Memorial on the lawn of the State Capitol in Sacramento. A memorial plaque is located on the third Floor of the Fire Station 9 and a bronze name plate is located at Station 10.


Firefighter Matt Smith

Smith_000On Monday, February 5, 2001, Firefighter Matt Smith collapsed and died of a cardiac related incident during his workout at Station 12 in Redwood City, despite attempts by co-workers and doctors to revive him.

Matthew Dodd Smith was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1967 in Santa Clara County and grew up in Cupertino. Matt began his short career as a firefighter, a life-long dream, in Redwood City on April 3, 1996. He was a volunteer firefighter for Central Fire Protection District in Santa Clara County prior to joining Redwood City Fire.

Matt is remembered as one who was loyal to family and fire fighting, a former Marine, and perpetual joker/prankster around the station. He was 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed 275 pounds. Despite his intimidating physical presence, he was a gentle giant. On his days off, Matt enjoyed many outdoor hobbies such as fishing, hunting and motorcycle riding. He was also a conscientious general contractor who did work for many co-workers.

Matt is survived by his wife Carla, Peter his son, and Alexis his daughter, as well as his father, mother and two sisters.


Captain Robert Walsh

Walsh4_000Captain Robert "Bob" Walsh was born on November 21, 1964 and passed away at the age of 38 on July 16, 2003 after a courageous three-year battle with cancer. Bob was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2000. After surgery and extensive rehabilitation, Bob was able to return to full duty as a Fire Captain until the cancer reoccurred and ultimately took his life.

Redwood City Fire Department hired Bob on August 6, 1990. He was promoted to Captain on December 26, 1998. Prior to the Redwood City Fire Department, Bob served with Pacifica Fire Department, Moffett Field Fire Department and Saratoga Fire Department.

Bob comes from a fire fighting family. His father, John Walsh, retired from Mountain View Fire Department as a Battalion Chief and passed away after losing his own battle with cancer. His brothers, John and Steve, work for Alameda County Fire Department and Hayward Fire Department respectively. His uncle, Frank Walsh, retired from Santa Clara Fire Department as a Captain.

Bob was a dedicated fire fighter and family man. He consistently challenged himself and his crew to achieve their maximum. He was a lover of the outdoors with his favorite outdoor activity being fishing.

Bob leaves behind his wife Dee, son Michael, daughter Alisa, mother Joy, brothers John and Steve and sister Suzi.