West Grove Fire Company
West Grove Fire Company


2024 Incidents
Fire EMS
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May 60 301
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Total 297 1437

2024 Incidents by Municipality
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Franklin 25 92
London Britain 20 59
London Grove 67 295
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Penn 84 497
West Grove 18 70
Mutual Aid 42 208
Total 297 1437

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2023 728 3250
2022 673 3142
2021 611 2896
2020 580 2565
2019 651 2442
2018 657 2612
2017 665 2394
2016 708 2313
2015 560 2208
2014 619 2244
2013 577 2095
2012 577 1957
2011 534 2035
2010 588 1782

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Fire Company Honors Fallen Firefighter
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June 6, 2024

At a ceremony honoring fallen firefighters, the West Grove Fire Company remembered firefighter Raymond Walker who tragically died in the line of duty in 1928.

The ceremony was held at the Chester County Public Safety Training Campus where an honor garden exists for fallen public safety responders. The event honored Mr. Walker, and also a fallen firefighter from the West Bradford Fire Company ( G. Everett Russell, died in the line of duty in 1954).

The ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque in Firefighter Walker's memory. The text of remarks by WGFC President Neil Vaughn explains the details:

"We are honored to be here today to remember Mr. Raymond Walker who perished on May 21, 1928. This is long overdue. 96 years ago, there was no National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, or no recognition for fallen firefighters. Mr. Walker and all the other responders who are memorialized here did what they did for one reason; they had a passion to serve their community, as do all the fellow responders presently serving today. Mr. Walker is looking down upon us today smiling, and humbled that we are following in his footsteps and honoring him for doing something that he loved.

On May 21, 1928, West Grove Fire Company assisted the Avondale Fire Company on a building fire that consumed a grinding mill, lumber yard, and coal yard, within the Village of Toughkenamon. During the fire, a chimney collapsed, killing Firefighter Walker instantly; Mr. Walker was 27 years old. The fire also injured two other firefighters: one from the Union Fire Company No. 1 of Oxford and a firefighter from Engine Company 8 from Wilmington, Delaware. The fire began in the boiler room of the American Feldspar Company, spread to mushroom manure filled railcars, ignited telephone and electric poles, and spread to the Mendenhall Lumber Yard, which in 1928 was one of the largest lumber, coal, feed, grain, hay, and fertilizer operation in the County. The lack of adequate water supply made saving the structures difficult, and the total loss was estimated to be over $115,000."

The following days news story from the Daily Local News read “it was nearly 5:30 o’clock when the Mendenhall chimney fell, which killed Walker. Although only a small chimney, Walker was in the direct line of its fall. Fred Carpenter, the Oxford fireman injured, is reported as resting as well as can be expected at the West Grove Hospital. An x-ray will be taken today to determine the extent of the head and leg hurts. The heat of the flames was described as terrific due to the combined burning of the Feldspar mill, lumber, several score tons of coal, hundreds of bushels of corn, etc. A relay of three fire engines were used in pumping the water from Reynolds Park, a mile away. The West Grove Fire Company seems to be in the hands of a jinx, as only a few weeks ago, their Chief Walton E. White, narrowly escaped death when run over by the engine. The Walker Estate will receive a sum of money from the blanket insurance policy covering the lives of West Grove fireman while on duty.”

Mr. Walker was married two years prior, and the happily married couple lived with his parents in West Grove Borough. Mr. Walker was a self-employed house painter, was a graduate of West Grove High School and a member of the West Grove Methodist Episcopal Church. In addition to his wife and parents, Mr. Walker was survived by his brother and half-brother.

Whether we think about this loss, the 343 we lost on September 11th, or the 25 firefighters we have lost this year, a Line of Duty Death is a brutal reminder that our job is just as dangerous today as it was in 1928 and the same dangers exist today as well. Firefighting is different now from when Mr. Walker fought fire, but inherently we have the same goal: fight the fire, save lives and property, and go home to our families and loved ones. Unfortunately, on this day, Firefighter Walker did not return home to his family. He made the ultimate sacrifice for others. There are no words to take away the grief; however, if we can remember him and all the other names on the plaques here at the training campus as heroes who gave their lives for others – than we may take solace knowing these individuals did not pass away in vain.

On behalf of the West Grove Fire Company, we would like to thank the Chester County Commissioners for their continued support of emergency services within the County, and thanks to Commissioner Moskowitz for attending today. In addition, thank you to the Department of Emergency Services, particularly Deputy Director Lindenlauf for coordinating this event. Thanks to Chief Binns and Judge John Bailey for initiating and continuing this program for all fallen fire, EMS, and police officers. Finally, to all the responders with whom we stand here today: your service and heroism make us proud to serve with you day in and day out. We appreciate your support today and everyday as we work beside each other to save others. Thank you."

Units: Ladder 22
 
Mutual Aid: West Bradford Fire Company
 
Hyperlinks: Chester County Public Safety Training Campus
 
 

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