No body after day three of search for Southfield Fire Chief

Local firefighters are trying to help the family of Southfield's fire chief as other emergency responders work to recover his body.

The body of Southfield Fire Chief Keith Rowley is still missing in Lake Saint Clair while local firefighters band together to support the chief's family.

Rowley disappeared Friday evening on the lake while boating with friends. After searching Friday night, Saturday and Sunday became recovery efforts. 

The Southeast Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs have set up the fund to help the Rowley family.

Day three for dive teams once again turned up empty. They're searching for the body of 58-year-old Rowley who went overboard around 7:00 p.m. Friday. He was on a friend's boat when the wind caught his friend's hat and blew into the water. Rowley went after it but never resurfaced. 

Southfield Battalion Chief Barry White said Rowley loved to swim, loved the boat, and loved people.

"He enjoyed swimming - he loved this boat that he was on, he would do anything for anybody," White said.

White said his willingness to help doesn't surprise him - it was in Rowley's nature.

"If anybody had a servant's heart, Chief Rowley is the epitome of that - he's an excellent firefighter, incredible paramedic, wonderful company officer," White said.

Rowley had been the fire chief in Southfield for the past few years and had been interviewed by FOX 2 on several occasions. From pothole problems to feeding the homeless, Rowley was a man of service.

"It's just really been heartwarming to be here and to provide and give back a little bit - give back to the community."

Now, his fellow first responders must search for one of their own. 

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said even though Rowley was a good swimmer, he had a hard time because of the choppy water.

"Three to four foot swells out there so he had a hard time keeping above the water. The boat attempted to circle around and couldn't get close due to the wind and the chop to try and throw a life ring in to him and those occupants actually saw him go under," Wickersham said.

According to the Macomb County Prosecutor, the owner of the boat is wanted for operating while intoxicated. 

Rowley leaves behind his wife and two children. Click here to help the Rowley family.


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