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Stafford County Fire & Law Man

June 6, 2011

There’s one man who comes to mind, more than any other, when you think of fire and law in Stafford County. For more than fifteen years he’s been answering the call. The citizens in Macksville call him Fire Chief. The citizens in Stafford County call him fire Station Chief and Undersheriff. The man is Rob Murrow.

Things were different back when Rob started his fire career. Most of the trucks were military hand-me-downs. On the plus side, the military trucks would go just about anywhere – even traversing the treacherous Rattlesnake Creek. On the down side, Rob said the first thing that popped into your head after the fire page went out was, “Will the trucks start?”

PPE Personal protective equipment was another area that was quite different back in the old days. Rob recalls that when he first started the problem with PPE was “there was none.” The only remnant of that era is the “old guy” that occasionally forgets to don a piece of the modern new PPE. Rob corrects that problem quickly as a chief officer.

“Firefighting – not everybody can do it”, said Rob. Of those that do fight fire, how many couple it with a career in law enforcement? And, of those how many serve as Fire Chief and Undersheriff? What did Rob have to say about that? He said, “I believe (doing both) provides a better understanding of both disciplines – how they work together.”

When asked why he became a fire chief Rob’s answer was, “Somebody’s got to do it. Somebody has to make the decisions – unpopular as some might be.”

He added that a volunteer chief faces many challenges. “You have to have your family’s support.” This was more challenging for Rob – having raised his three girls mostly by himself. Many times Angela, Misty, and Dallas sat in the truck and watched Dad fight the fire. Now, they fight fire beside Dad.

Rob’s most memorable fire happened in the City of Macksville. The structure consisted of several interconnected trailer houses. While firefighters – including Rob – were inside fighting the fire, they ran out of water. One of the firefighters – caught up in the moment and not thinking clearly – ran outside, jumped in the truck, and drove off down the road to get more water. Rob was holding the hose line when suddenly it left his hands like a launched rocket.

Here are Rob’s words of advice for other firefighters. “Keep an open mind on how to do your job. Don’t get set in your ways. Fight the fire smarter. And, before you ever go into a structure, make sure you can come out. As in life, use good judgment.”

“How many people serve their citizens like Rob Murrow?” Not many – he truly is “The Man.”

“Thanks for all you do.”

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