Wife tried to save victim Blaze claims 'best guy;' power cord suspected as cause
SUNBURY - The Sunbury man with physical disabilities who died in a house fire Tuesday night was described by his neighbors as a quality individual.
"He's the best guy you'd ever want as a friend," Joe Young said.
Kriss Berry said he was "a great guy and helped everyone."
Both men were standing outside the scene Wednesday morning watching firefighters rummage through 1005 Penn St., where Keith "Bo" Bordner, 53, was unable to escape or be rescued from a fire that destroyed his house.
Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley reported Wednesday that he pronounced Bordner dead at the scene in the living room in the front of the house. Kelley was assisted by Chief Deputy Coroner James Gotlob in the investigation.
The death, which was ruled accidental, was caused by thermal injuries, Kelley said.
Sunbury Fire Department Chief Mike Rhoads said Bordner's wife, Debra, attempted to get her husband, who may have been in a wheelchair due to rheumatoid arthritis, out of the house, but was overcome by smoke.
Members of the fire department and police department also attempted to rescue Bordner, but were turned back by intense flames, Rhoads said.
Debra Bordner was treated at the scene, and no one else was injured, Rhoads said.
Neighbors said the Bordners and their 22-year-old son Jesse, who was not home at the time of the fire, have lived at the house for more than 15 years.
"He was the best," Berry, of 1003 Penn St. said of Bordner.
Joe Young, who used to own 1009 Penn St., said he kept in touch with the family even after he moved away from the neighborhood.
Berry's wife reported the fire at 8:50 p.m. Tuesday at the Penn Street home, which is located near the street's intersection with South 10th Street about a block-and-a-half from the Shikellamy High School.
After failed attempts to rescue Bordner by emergency personnel, the entire front of the building was engulfed in flames within minutes.
Rhoads said there were challenges from strong wind gusts and several oxygen tanks exploding, as well as saving the house located at 1003 Penn St. separated by just inches from 1005.
"The fire department did an absolute professional job last night. They saved my house. I can't thank them enough," Berry said.
The only damage was to siding and part of a porch roof, and there was no inside fire or smoke damage, he said.
Rhoads said the fire originated in the living room where Bordner was found in an area with multiple power cords and power strips. At approximately 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters investigating the burned shell of a structure brought out what appeared to be a burned power cord, which Rhoads confirmed is suspected to have sparked the fire.
The house, which was insured, is a total loss, the chief said.
Approximately 50 firefighters from Sunbury, Upper Augusta, Shamokin Dam, Northumberland and Shamokin responded.
The last fatal fire that occurred in the city happened in February 2008, Rhoads said.
Judith Lou Shade, 71, of 1054 Miller St., was unable to escape her home after a fire broke out at 1:15 p.m. Feb. 16, and was pronounced dead at the scene by Gotlob.