From his neighbors to his former bosses, to his friends, those that knew or met David Benzo Torres, described him as someone who was mature beyond his years.
“He was probably one of my favorites out of the friends my son had,” said Adrienne Thomas, his former boss at a music store, and family friend. “He was unique and charismatic. He was very interesting kid and had a head on his shoulders.”
Added her son, Jonah Thomas: “He was a thinker. He always had an opinion about something and had someone way to back it up. He was a knowledgeable person. He always thought outside the box.”
Firefighters found the 19-year-old Torres dead after a house burned just south of Garner early Wednesday morning. It is uncertain how he died.
His friends said he did not live at the house, but he was staying there for a short period of time. The two men, who did live at the home, were not there at the time.
The fire happened at a single-family home on Porchlight Court in southern Wake County at about 4 a.m.
Fire Chief Matt Poole said the teen was found in a bedroom.
“When we got there the house was fully involved in flames,” Poole said. “Someone found the fire very late in the progression of it. There was no way he’d be alive when we arrived to the scene.”
Will Faircloth, a next door neighbor, said Torres said he lived with two other young men, who apparently were not at the home at the time. He said two men showed up to the scene later and were interviewed by the sheriff’s office.
Faircloth said he looked out the window at about 4 a.m., and noticed a fire on the porch of his neighbor’s house. It was spreading, so he called the fire department, he said.
Asked to describe the scene, Faircloth said it had been “very hot.”
About six fire trucks with about 25 fire fighters showed up to the scene. He said it took about an hour to get the fire put out.
Faircloth said he found out Torres had died in the fire about 30 minutes after firefighters had gotten the blaze under control.
“I wish I had looked out the window sooner,” he said. Faircloth described his neighbor as a “really nice kid.”
“Working hard. Real respectful. Considerate,” Faircloth said. “He had a dog and he got out one day and I told him I didn’t mind. I told him I had a dog and I know how they can be.
“He introduced himself, and he would say hello. It’s hard to find that in young people these days.”
The neighborhood is just south of Garner and near Fuquay-Varina.
Jonah Thomas, 17, a student at Fuquay-Varina High School, said Torres was a graduate of the school, taking online courses at Wake Technical Community College.
He said he met Torres, a few years ago through mutual friends, and they had become close ever since.
Thomas said Torres liked to make music.
The sheriff’s office and the Wake County Fire Marshal’s Office were trying to determine how the fire at 1409 Porchlight Court started. At about 1 p.m. Wednesday, investigators were still at the house, which was in ruins.