Investigators puzzled by man's death in small shed fire

PORT ANGELES, Wash. - A 35-year-old man was killed in a fire that burned down a shed Wednesday near Port Angeles, and now investigators are trying to figure out why the man wasn't able to get out of the small structure.

The victim, Thomas Bornson, 35, was found dead inside the 12-by-15-foot shed after it burned down Wednesday morning in the Gales Addition area, just east of Port Angeles, said Ron Cameron, chief criminal deputy with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.

Bornson apparently used the small outbuilding as a workshop or hobby room and often spent time inside.

A person driving by saw the flames from the shed and contacted 911. Family members living in a house on the property awoke to the fire, but the heat was too intense to help Bornson.

"It's a small building, and why he couldn't get out kind of makes you scratch your head," Cameron said. "Possibly he was asleep and woke up to the flames and smoke and was just unable to figure out where he was and find the door to get out."

Cameron said there was a latch on the door that apparently was bolted from the inside.

"It could have been difficult to find that latch, or he might not have been able to get to it," he said. "There's a lot of scenarios were looking at."

Cameron said most of the damage seems to be centered around an area where an extension cord entered the shed from a neighboring residence.

He said two deputies specially trained in fire investigations are being utilized to try and determine the cause and origin of the fire, while sheriff's detectives continue to talk with family members and area residents who may have witnessed anything that could help in the investigation.

He asked anyone who has information to call the Clallam County Sheriff's Office at 360-417-2459 during business hours and refer to case number 2012-15661.