More remains recovered from Barclay fire

Special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Response Team, Pennsylvania State Police, and Chester County Fire Marshal’s office have located the remaining two more victims inside the Barclay Friends Senior Center at 700 North Franklin Street in West Chester.

Investigators located the remains of the first two victims on Tuesday, Nov. 21, while excavating the south wing. Recovery efforts continued in the south wing where investigators believe the fire started. These efforts resulted in the recovery of the two additional victims. These victims were transported from the scene by the Chester County Coroner and the families of the four missing residents were notified by West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn. The Chester County Coroner will make every attempt to identify the victims and notify the families accordingly.

The investigator’s focus will now be on trying to determine the origin and cause of this fire. This investigation will require diligent continued work by the team through the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as supporting laboratory analysis.

“Investigating a fire of this size is truly a team effort,” said ATF Philadelphia Field Division Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson.  “We appreciate the dedication of our personnel as well as all of the state and local partners who worked tirelessly to thoroughly investigate this fire to find the remaining victims and attempt to determine the fire’s origin and cause. We hope with the recovery of the four victims these families can now start to heal and that we can provide some closure for them.”

“The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of ATF and all of our emergency responders are with the families of the victims during this difficult time. Their losses only strengthen our resolve to provide answers to them as a result of our investigation of this tragedy” said Robinson.

ATF’s NRT, along with special agents from the ATF Philadelphia Field Division, were activated to respond to the 5-alarm fire at the Barclay Friends Senior Assisted Living Center. The fire occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m., Nov. 16. First responders from West Chester and surrounding fire departments in the area arrived on scene shortly after the first call was made to 911 assisting with the evacuation of 152 residents and staff members. The NRT arrived on scene Saturday morning to start processing the fire scene and determine the origin and cause once the building was secured and hot spots extinguished.

The fire investigation is being worked in coordination with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, Chester County Fire Marshal’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, West Chester Police Department, Chester County Sheriff’s Office and Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

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