Police Officer Lawrence John Fiorelli

Police Officer Lawrence John Fiorelli

Chester City Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Thursday, August 7, 1986

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Lawrence John Fiorelli

Police Officer Larry Fiorelli died as a result of complications from cancer that developed from directing traffic on the Commodore Barry Bridge during the Wade Dump Fire.

During the response, Officer Fiorelli was assigned to direct traffic on the smoke-shrouded bridge for his full eight-hour shift. He returned to the scene to work at least three more full eight-hour shifts in the following days.

He was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia in 1985 and died as a result on August 7th, 1986.

Officer Fiorelli was a U.S Army veteran and served with the Chester Police Department for 13 years. He is survived by his wife, and five children.

At 3:44 pm, members of the Chester Fire Department responded to 1 Flower Street for a fire at a rubber recycling facility directly below the Commodore Barry Bridge. It was unknown to first responders that more than 3,000,000 gallons of toxic chemical waste were being stored on the site. At least 230 first responders responded to the fire that took firefighters 10 hours to get under control. During the response, firefighters were driven back due to exploding 55-gallon drums. One warehouse was destroyed, and two other warehouses were damaged in the fire.

Investigators discovered more than 18,000 drums of toxic chemicals, tanker trucks leaking chemical waste into the ground, and ditches that had been dug to dump chemicals into the Delaware River.

In August 1980, the owner of the property was convicted of risking a catastrophe, failing to prevent a catastrophe, and for violating the Clean Water Act. He was fined $30,000 and sentenced to one to two years in the county prison.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 13 years
  • Badge 117
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Thursday, February 2, 1978
  • Weapon Toxic chemicals
  • Offender Sentenced to 2 years

directing traffic, fire, hazmat

Most Recent Reflection

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On this 34th anniversary of your untimely departure we say thank you for your service and rest in peace always knowing that your sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 7, 2020

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