Charles County Fire/EMS Mourn the Loss of Longtime Volunteer
By Coordinator/Public Information Officer William Smith
July 25, 2022

Israel Lee Burch, age 49 of La Plata, Maryland passed away on July 19, 2022, at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Israel was born in Virginia to Joseph and Denise Burch on August 19, 1972.

He is survived by his loving wife, Sheri Burch; four children; Kayla Watters, Wynter Burch, Dustin Burch and Hunter Burch. He is also survived by his parents and sister, Sarah LaRoque (husband Travis and nephew Conner).

Israel Burch was a life-long resident of Charles County, growing up in Cobb Island and then raising his own family in the Town of La Plata. Burch earned his High School diploma in 2002. Burch treasured working with his hands and being in his workshop, affectionately known as “The Shed.” He was a community servant his entire life. In his off time, he would drive a dump truck part-time or volunteer his free time with community organizations. He served as an assistant coach for the La Plata Blue Knights Football organization from 2015 to 2018.

He was inspired by his grandfather Chief Thomas Cain (predeceased) to join the fire service brotherhood in 1988 with the Cobb Island Volunteer Fire Department. Burch served in several ranking offices at the Cobb Island VFD and received the prestigious “Firefighter of the Year” award in 2000. In 2001, he joined the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department, when he moved his family into the Town. He served on numerous committees, as well as a Safety Officer, Lieutenant, Captain, Engineer, Vice President, and Board of Director during his 21 years of volunteer service at La Plata.

In 2001, Burch was hired by the National Institutes of Health Fire Department in Bethesda, Maryland. During his tenure with NIHFD, Burch was able to employ strong leadership traits to change the course of the Department. He served on many work committees and was a well-respected leader inside and outside of the firehouse. He was ultimately promoted to Fire Chief. He was known as a “Fireman’s Fire Chief” which is the most honorable title one can receive in the fire service.

The family will receive friends on Friday, July 29, 2022, from 9 to 11 AM at the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department (911 Washington Ave, La Plata, MD 20646) with Fireman’s Prayers at 11 am and a funeral service immediately following.

Interment to follow at the Sacred Heart Church Cemetery (St. Mary’s Avenue, La Plata, MD 20646)

Memorial contributions may be made to the family at

Online condolences may be shared with the family at