Fire victim remembered fondly by colleagues
August 15, 2004
Cause of blaze still under investigation
By Susan Wood and William Ferchland
Tribune staff writers
The body of a South Lake Tahoe man killed in a fire investigators call “suspicious” at his Park Avenue home last week was identified Sunday as Jeff Bursha, a real estate agent who’s lived in town for more than 30 years.
Bursha, 51, was employed over the last few months in outside sales for Century 21, Tahoe Paradise, at Heavenly Village but he spent the bulk of his Tahoe real estate career at McCall Realty at Tahoe Keys Boulevard.
“Everybody here has been in complete shock. Somebody got the call, and (news of his death) seemed to spread,” said Steve Eisen, a McCall associate broker who hired Bursha in 1997.
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Beyond being described as sharp and quick witted, Bursha was known as “a go-getter who seemed to have a lot of energy,” Eisen said.
The broker recalled how Bursha was always on the move, an ideal characteristic for the field.
Bursha was also a construction worker and chain installer.
“He was big into putting on tire chains. It was something he did – a way to meet people,” said Bill Hodges, who also works for McCall Realty.
Others mentioned Bursha’s love of music, which also put him in contact with entertainers.
Coroner results can take weeks to come in, said El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Neves said. One was scheduled Friday, but Coroner Pete Van Arnum was unavailable over the weekend.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department has not released further information about the fire. Bursha’s home was located at the corner of Park Avenue and Greenwood Road near Lakeside Beach.
Authorities initially treated the two-story fire, reported at 12:15 a.m. Thursday, as murder by arson after a gas can was found on the porch of the 861 Park Avenue residence. Investigators later called it suspicious.
A woman investigators referred to as Bursha’s ex-girlfriend was questioned. As of Sunday, no arrest was made. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.
Firefighters found Bursha’s body on the floor in a bathroom, along with a dead pet rabbit in a cage.