Police Officer Robert John Boyle, Sr.

Police Officer Robert John Boyle, Sr.

Chester City Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Monday, March 28, 1988

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Robert John Boyle, Sr.

Police Officer Bobby Boyle died as a result of complications from cancer that developed from directing traffic and crowd control during the Wade Dump Fire.

During the response, Officer Boyle was assigned to direct traffic and crowd control for a full eight-hour shift. His uniform was ruined due to the chemicals of the fire and his boots were melted.

He was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in February 1988 and subsequently died on March 28th, 1988.

Officer Boyle was a U.S Navy veteran and served with the Chester Police Department for 23 years. He is survived by his wife and four children. His father is retired from the Chester Police Department.

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 51
  • Tour 23 years
  • Badge 20
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

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

crowd control, fire, hazmat

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Rest in peace Officer Boyle.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

March 27, 2023

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