Former State Fire Marshal Rocco J. Gabriele died Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at his home surrounded by his family. He was 90.

Gabriele was first appointed to the position on November 1, 1982, by Secretary Thomas Schmit of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. At the time of his retirement in 2001, only one other State Fire Marshal in the United States had a longer tenure than Gabriele.

With a long legacy, the passing of State Fire Marshal Rocco Gabriele is a loss to the Maryland public safety community. Gabriele had the honor of being the longest-serving Maryland State Fire Marshal with nearly two decades of service to the citizens of the state.

During his time as State Fire Marshal, Gabriele is credited with creating the first Administrative and Operations manual for all personnel, including a disciplinary matrix as well as records retention schedules, submitting more than 40 pieces of legislation to enhance fire and life safety, which included fire investigators under the protection of the Heart and Lung Bill, and establishing the requirements for fire sprinkler contractors in 1997.  Gabriele was instrumental in working with Maryland State Police to secure new offices for OSFM regional and satellite offices in new or renovated barracks throughout the State.

Gabriele established the Fire and Burn Safety Coalition of Maryland (FABSCOM) in 1994 to support and enhance Maryland’s fire and life safety education initiatives. Later, FABSOM became one of the primary sponsors and steering committee members for planning the annual Mid-Atlantic Life Safety Conference. He also established the Maryland Fire Service Legislative Caucus in 1986 to discuss legislative matters to the Maryland General Assembly, and the caucus continues to meet to this day.

Gabriele served as president of the Fire Marshals Association of North America and as an officer and executive board member of the National Association of State Fire Marshals during his second and third terms as State Fire Marshal.

Before being appointed State Fire Marshal, Gabriele retired as a Captain from the Maryland State Police, with 24 years of dedicated service, overseeing the Maryland State Crime Lab. Gabriele held an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Essex Community College, a bachelor’s of arts in sociology from Loyola University, and a master’s in forensic laboratory management from George Washington University. He was lifelong and the oldest living member of the Rosedale Volunteer Fire Department, joining as a cadet 75 years ago.

– Courtesy Office Maryland State Fire Marshal