In 1981, the LVFC experienced a terrible loss. As he had for 15 years as a member of the L VFC, John Burch responded in the middle of the night to a call. It was a fire at the vacant snack bar at the former Timonium DriveIn. Returning in the dark to his bedroom where his wife Kerrie lay sleeping, he fell down the stairs of their house on Morris Avenue and was unconscious when Kerrie found him. In response to her 911 call, Lutherville rescue personnel raced to his side from the firehouse nearby. Among them were John’s close friends, Jim Donovan and Denny Leutner. Unable to revive him, they called for state police air evacuation to the shock trauma unit at University Hospital. He was placed into a helicopter at Seminary Park and arrived at the hospital minutes later. There, doctors found he had suffered a fractured skull and fatal brain damage.
A native of Baltimore County, Burch graduated from Towson Catholic High School in 1965 and attended Towson State and the University of Baltimore. A salesman for Jobe & Co., Inc., John lived in Lutherville all of his life and had joined the fire company when he was 19. He served a term as president the year before his death and was one of the members who played an instrumental role in bringing the expanded firehouse on line that year. John Burch was only 34 years old.
The John Burch Memorial Fund was set up in his honor help his wife and children. The Dulaney Valley Improv Association donated $500 on behalf of its residents and appreciation for his service to the community. “This was;;. very good man,” columnist Michael Olesker wrote in an editorial honoring John in the Baltimore Sun.