November 21, 2017

Human remains recovered from West Chester senior facility blaze

Fires Investigations
APTOPIX Senior Living Community Fire Pete Bannan/Daily Local News via AP

Residents of the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community wait to be taken to ambulances as the senior care facility burned in a massive fire on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in West Chester. The fire quickly spread to multiple buildings, forcing residents to evacuate outside into the cold. Chester County emergency officials say at least 20 people have been taken to area hospitals for treatment.

The remains of two people have been located inside the Chester County senior facility that went up in flames on Thursday night.

The remains of the first victim were located at Barclay Friends Senior Center on Tuesday morning by investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Pennsylvania State Police, and the Chester County Fire Marshal’s office.

The second victim was discovered later on Tuesday at the facility at 700 N. Franklin St. in West Chester, authorities said. Both sets of remains were taken from the scene by the Chester County coroner and the families of the four missing residents were notified.

The investigation is continuing into the cause of the fire and is expected to continue throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. Authorities used a large crane and other excavating equipment to remove large sections of fire debris early Tuesday morning. Efforts to locate the two remaining missing residents will continue on Wednesday morning, according to the ATF's Philadelphia field office.

“The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of ATF 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 Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson in a statement.

The five-alarm fire occurred about 10:45 p.m. last Thursday. About 160 residents and staff members were evacuated.

The ATF's National Response Team arrived on scene Saturday morning to begin the investigation, which 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.