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La Plata Volunteer Fire Department via Facebook

The La Plata Volunteer Fire Department regrets to announce the passing of Past Fire Chief John Matthews, ID #1.

Chief Matthews is a legend within our department and exemplified fire service leadership; the camaraderie he built and encouraged within the station is unsurpassable (those talks around the kitchen table, hanging out on the front ramp of the station, and conversations at drills/meetings were priceless–and we all know it).

Chief Matthews was not only a wealth of stories (that we couldn’t get enough of), he was also a wealth of knowledge that we leaned on often. He witnessed so much history and change within the fire service and, with that wisdom, provided guidance and advice to our members and leaders.

Chief Matthews joined our department on July 1, 1944 and has been a member for just shy of 76 years.

Some of his many accomplishments within our department include:

  • Acting Chief–1 year
  • Fire Chief–4 years
  • Assistant Chief–5 years
  • Captain–2 years
  • Lieutenant
  • Board of Director–3 years
  • Fire Marshal
  • Life Member

Committees served–

  • New Station on Charles Street
  • Apparatus-Brush Truck Replacement
  • Apparatus-Pumper Replacement
  • Uniform

Outside of our department, Chief Matthews also served/was recognized for:
Charles County Volunteer Rescue Squad-Member
Charles County Volunteer Fireman’s Association-Chief, 1961
Maryland State Fireman’s Association Marbery F. Gates Service Cup Award nominee-2013

Chief Matthew’s efforts have truly enhanced our department and the fire service throughout our area. He will be sorely missed by our members, he truly was a special part of our family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. Rest easy, Chief, we are better because of your leadership, example, stories, and the time you spent with us.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...