WGFC Involved in Massive Community Search for Missing Man in London Grove, Updated: Search Has Ended
February 7, 2021

Units from the West Grove Fire Company, area fire companies, county agencies, PA State Police, municipal services and community volunteers came together to be part of a search for a missing elderly London Grove township man on Saturday. The search effort began early on Saturday, and continued until well after dark on Saturday evening. Some details on yesterday's operation can be found below.

UPDATE: Feb. 8 Monday from the PA State Police statement:

"At approximately 920am this morning, Troopers from the Criminal Investigations Unit PA State Police of the Avondale Barracks located Mr. Owen. Unfortunately, he was found deceased. There is no further information we can provide at this time. We cannot thank everyone in our community enough for everything you have done to help assist the PA State Police with this investigation. This community should be proud of how we all came together." See statement: https://twitter.com/PSPTroopJPIO/status/1358791493352308742?s=20

Details on the Saturday Fire Company Operation

West Grove Fire Company units were called to assist the State Police with the search just after 1pm on Saturday. Upon arrival, Chief 22 established a command post at the Little League field on Rosehill Road, where units from the WGFC arrived. The State Police had been looking for Mr. Owens for several hours and were in the process of using the State Police helicopter to aid in the search. The initial fire department response included Engines 22-1 and 22-3, Rescue 22, Utility 22, Squad 22 and both ambulances, with fire police as well.

After a briefing by the Fire Chief and State Police, crews began to walk in teams throughout a wide search area near the missing man's home and deployed a drone to search from above. As the incident progressed the search was broken up into grids and the area was systematically searched well into the evening.

The Command operation was expanded to include units from Chester County Emergency Services. This effort included COMM1, the mobile 911 Center unit for radio operations, along with the incident support team trailer and members of the County's Incident Response Team. Additional fire units were also pulled in, including four wheel drive and off road units from the Longwood and Po- Mar-Lin fire companies. The Command post established leadership sectors that included a Staging officer to coordinate incoming units, an Operations officer and an Accountability officer to assure all emergency services search teams were accounted for, and had specific search assignments during the entire operation.

To assist the search, London Grove Township officials opened up the township building and offered various municipal resources to aid in the search including the use of buildings, maps and an off road vehicle to assist in covering fields and woods. The efforts of a group of community volunteers was also coordinated from the Township Building.

Fire police from West Grove, Avondale and Union fire company of Oxford handled road closures in the area to assist with traffic flows throughout the incident.

The WGFC extends its thanks to the Avondale Fire Company for standing by in West Grove and handling other calls during the seven hour search operation. Thanks too to the London Grove Township for assistance and equipment, and to area residents for assisting in the search and stopping by the operation and command posts and the fire house with food and drinks for the search teams. The WGFC acknowledges the close working relationship with the PA State Police in Avondale, who lead the investigation. The fire company also thanks the Chester County Department of Emergency Services leaders and staff who jumped in to support Command operations.

Units: WGFC: Engine 22-1, Engine 22-3, Rescue 22, Squad 22, Utility 22, Ambulances 1 & 2, Fire Police.
Mutual Aid: County COMM1, County IST, Rescue 23 (Standby), ATV 25 Longwood, ATV 36 Po-Mar-Lin, ATV London Grove Township, Squad 21, Brush 21, Utility 21, Squad 8, Squad 24, Utility 36, Squad 27, PA State Police