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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

Congresswoman Lawrence on recovery of Southfield Fire Chief Keith Rowley

August 4, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence on Tuesday issued the following statement regarding the recovery of the body of Southfield Fire Chief Keith Rowley, who fell overboard while boating on Lake St. Clair last Friday.

"Though I am deeply saddened by the news that the body of Southfield Fire Chief Keith Rowley has been found, I also am thankful that the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team were so diligent in their efforts and have provided Keith’s family and friends, including his Fire Department family and City of Southfield family, with this sense of closure.

As I noted earlier, I had the distinct honor of confirming the appointment of Keith as Chief of the Southfield City Fire Department in 2012. We worked many years together in Southfield, where he grew up and where I raised my family and spent nearly 15 years as mayor, and I could not have asked for a more steadfast, diligent, and dedicated fire chief.

Throughout his career, which spanned more than 35 years, Keith was known as a natural leader and as someone who held the responsibility of serving the public in high regard. He organized and managed numerous major programs and projects, such as expanding the Technical Rescue program and assisting in set up of the Urban Search and Rescue Team. Under his leadership, fire department staff teamed with City Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to reconfigure the SAFER grant to better meet the needs of the City of Southfield. As a result, the City and the Fire Department are now better positioned to maintain the high standards of commitment and care for the community. Chief Rowley, in conjunction with other department staff, also developed and implemented many new state-of-the-art training and firefighting techniques such as the use of Thermal Imaging technology, school bus emergency response, high angle rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, and vehicle extrication.

As his family, friends, and fire department grieve the loss of this amazing man, so does the city of Southfield. It is through this shared sense of family that that we will shoulder the burden of sadness and look to find a sense of peace despite this terrible tragedy.

Most importantly, we will never forget what Keith did for everyone he knew, for his family, for his fire department, and for the City of Southfield. His memory and his example as one of our finest citizens will live on in our hearts and minds forever."

If you have any questions, please contact Tracy Manzer in Congresswoman Lawrence’s office at or call (202) 225-5802.

Brenda L. Lawrence was elected to Congress in November 2014. She served as Southfield mayor between 2002 and 2015. A Senior Whip, Congresswoman Lawrence represents 18 communities throughout Greater Detroit, including portions of Detroit as well as segments of Oakland and Wayne counties.