Man Found Dead in Wayne Township Fire Identified

WAYNE TOWNSHIP -- The body of the man who was found dead inside a burning home in Wayne Township has been identified as Russell Harley, 89.

Fire investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire on Fair Road near Schuylkill Haven.

"It wasn't his time, but he's gone," Harley's friend Glenn Yarnall said.

Yarnall owns the home Harley lived in. He and his wife live in another home attached to the one where the fire happened. He was home when it started.

"I walked in the kitchen and I saw an excessive amount of smoke out the kitchen window and said that can't be the wood burner because I only put a little bit of wood in," Yarnall said.

When he realized what was going on, he tried to help. He ran over to Harley's apartment.

"The door was locked," Yarnall said. "I got a key and opened the door and it was entirely too late. The flames were coming out from under the kitchen door at that time."

Yarnall said he's known Harley for 15 years, saying he wasn't your typical 89-year-old.

"He was a colorful guy," Yarnall said. "He loved karaoke. He went all over the area singing Frank Sinatra songs. He was an 'up-and-at-em' kind of person. He wasn't ready to give up.

The fire marshal tells Newswatch 16 they do not believe the fire is suspicious. An autopsy will be done on the body to find the exact cause of death.