The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 22, 2013

Raging fire destroys Keller Marine & RV in Port Trevorton

PORT TREVORTON — Keller Marine & RV owners say they’ll rebuild after a six-alarm fire destroyed the main warehouse and millions of dollars worth of inventory this morning.

Nearly two dozen volunteer fire companies from Snyder, Northumberland, Union and Perry counties were called in to battle the inferno that began at about 8:35 a.m. as contractors were repairing the roof of the 55-year-old family business at 2712 Main St. owned by G. Michael Keller.

“Everybody is safe. That’s what matters,” said his wife, Michelle Keller, shivering beneath a white towel provided by an emergency responder.

She huddled with employees throughout the morning, often in prayer, and expressed gratitude to residents, local businesses and churches that offered food and refreshments to firefighters and company employees.

“Yes, there’s a bad fire going on, but people need to know how wonderful people are in this area,” Keller said. “We are so thankful.”

Her son, Michael T. Keller, said he got a text message from his mother at 8:45 a.m. while he was attending classes at Susquehanna University in nearby Selinsgrove.

“She told me to pray,” he said.

Michael Keller immediately drove to Port Trevorton and spotted the smoke from the fire several miles away.

John Fisher, an employee of 41 years, said one of the company’s 75 employees called 911 to report the fire as he and several others tried to put it out on their own, to no avail.

“We used every fire extinguisher we could find, but it was up in the roof,” he said as flames and plumes of thick, black smoke billowed from the building more than 90 minutes later.

Battling the blaze was made even more difficult because of the many walls inside as a result of several additions made throughout the years, Fisher said.

Firefighters were evacuated from the burning building an hour after they arrived when an exterior wall collapsed. It took about five hours to contain the blaze, Snyder County Emergency Services Director Derrick Shambach said.

North- and southbound traffic on Routes 11-15 in the vicinity was shut down for several hours to make it easy for tankers to get water from the nearby Susquehanna River used to extinguish the blaze and electricity in the area was shut down.

Fisher, a buyer for Keller, said millions of dollars worth of boat and recreational vehicle accessories was stored in the 20,000 square-foot building in preparation for the start of the busy summer season. According to the company website, about 20,000 boat and recreational vehicle parts and accessories are kept in stock.

“This won’t be an instant fix,” he said.

Shaking his head as he watched his workplace burn to the ground, 23-year employee Dale Kratzer said, “It’s just destroyed.”

Shambach said the fire was not only big in size but in impact to the community.

“A lot of people work there. This will have a huge affect on the community,” he said.

Michael Keller said the business started by his great-grandparents more than one-half century ago will be rebuilt.

“If Mike says they’re going to rebuilt, they will,” Fisher said.

Text Only
  • Reel good time enjoyed by 200 young anglers

    TREVORTON — It only took about three minutes for J.C. Wallish to reel in his first fish at the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association’s annual Youth Trout Derby on Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Elytte Barbour's 'bad trip' put him on the road to prison, friend says

    SUNBURY — A former roommate of slaying suspect Elytte Barbour drove 450 miles from North Carolina to spend 45 minutes in the Northumberland County Prison with his best friend last week, and was not surprised when he heard Barbour say: “I am afraid to spend the rest of my life in jail.”

    April 19, 2014

  • bonehunt20a.jpg 60 dogs battle for biscuits at annual bone hunt

    It was a scene similar to ones playing out all over the nation this weekend: nervous parents holding baskets and bags, watching their little ones search for goodies in the grass.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.

    April 19, 2014

  • Danville parents hope strike ends quickly

    DANVILLE ““ First-grader Madison Wild was sad she missed school Thursday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Schools ask state to waive 180-day rule

    Three area school districts have asked the Pennsylvania Department of Education to add up their hours instead of their days in order to reach the required amount of instruction time in the school year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Former Bucknell star in NBA playoffs

    ATLANTA — It really hit Mike Muscala a few days ago when he was listening to the Nets’ starting lineup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    April 19, 2014

  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.