Captain Sander Cohen of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department was driving south on Interstate 270 on December 8, 2017, when he saw a disabled vehicle in the left lane along the busy highway. He was on his way to assist with snow removal at Dulles International Airport and then help the next day with Fantasy Flight, a program that offers children with serious diseases the opportunity to “visit” Santa Claus at the North Pole.
It was not out of character for him to help wherever he could.
Captain Cohen stopped to help the disabled vehicle and motorist. While waiting for additional assistance to arrive, Captain Cohen and the motorist were struck by an oncoming car and killed.
Captain Cohen’s unselfish service is legendary, and his legacy will live on.
Motivated by the call to serve others early in life, Captain Cohen joined the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department at the age of 19. In his first year as a volunteer, he helped three residents escape from the second floor of a burning building. He was awarded a Citation of Bravery for his lifesaving actions at that apartment on December 22, 2003.
Captain Cohen was committed to his volunteer service at the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department and frequently covered shifts for other members. He served as a shift officer and as a member of the Board of Directors. He had been an active member of the department for 14 years.
Captain Cohen’s love of the fire service and his experience as a volunteer led him to his career in fire investigations. At the time of his death he was a nine-year veteran of the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal where he held the rank of deputy chief fire marshal and was regional commander of the Northeast Regional Office.