Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal
Richard "Dick" Drivon
Firefighter Matt Smith
Captain Robert Walsh
Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard “Dick”
Richard ‘Dick’ Drivon died of an apparent heart attack
on April 9, 1954. He devoted half of his life to the Redwood City
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
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
Firefighter Matt Smith
On 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
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
Captain 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
Bob leaves behind his wife Dee, son Michael, daughter Alisa, mother
Joy, brothers John and Steve and sister Suzi.