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50-years-ago two Prince George’s County, MD firefighters died during water rescue attempt

Firefighters Robert Harmon and Robert Hobstetter were members of Chillum-Adelphi VFD

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Fifty-years-ago tonight two volunteer firefighters from the Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland were killed during an attempt to rescue a family whose station wagon was swept into the rain-swollen Sligo Creek. Firefighter Robert Harmon, a glass blower at the National Institutes of Health was 23. Firefighter Robert Hobstetter, a film editor at Channel 5, WTTG-TV, was 31. On this page are images from the incident and various accounts of the line-of-duty-deaths of these two firefighters on that Saturday night. The date of their deaths is usually listed as Sunday morning, August 10 when their bodies were discovered and taken to the nearby Washington Sanitarium and Hospital (now Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital) where the men were pronounced dead.

Read September 17, 1998 article by Barbara Ruben in The Washington Post

Read account from David Friedman, The Sun, August 11, 1969 Part 1, Part 2

Tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 10:00 the Chillum-Adelphi VFD will hold a memorial service at New Hampshire Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway where there has long been a plaque on the bridge honoring the two firefighters (see below).

Firefighter Robert Harmon (l) and Firefighter Robert Hobstetter, Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department
From The Evening Sun (Baltimore) on August 11, 1969

Read more about this plaque

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