By Jack Toomey
When the Gaithersburg Fire Department was formed in 1927, one of the first volunteers to sign up was William Mobley. He was a lifelong resident of Gaithersburg and was drawn to firefighting because he wanted to help his community.
Mobley was recognized as a hero after he rescued an invalid from the second floor of a burning house in Cedar Grove. However, illness and lung problems forced him off of his beloved fire trucks, and he took the job of custodian at the firehouse. One of his duties was to sound the alarm switch to call volunteers from home whenever a fire was reported.
Aug. 6, 1950 started like many others with some firefighters sitting out front watching the traffic pass on Diamond Avenue. Then the emergency phone rang. Mobley jumped up to answer it and learned of a house on fire in Gaithersburg. He hurried over to the switch that would set off a loud wailing siren that would summon volunteers from home.
Mobley pulled the switch and collapsed onto to the apron of the firehouse. He was dead before the fire engines could get out of the firehouse. Dr. Broschart was summoned and pronounced Mobley dead of a heart attack.
William Mobley is buried in Forest Oak Cemetery on North Frederick Avenue.