Friends mourn Wake Tech student who died in house fire

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Friends and family mourn the loss of David Benzo, 19, in a house fire in Wake County.

Authorities in Wake County are investigating a fire that killed a Wake Tech student and destroyed a home early Wednesday morning.

The Garner Fire Department and the Wake County Sheriff's Office responded to the blaze just after 4 a.m. on Porchlight Court off Holland Farms Way in Raleigh.

Firefighters found the body of 19-year-old David Israel Benzo Jr. in a bedroom as flames gutted the middle portion of the home and engulfed the roof.

"It was just eating up the roof, lickety-split time," neighbor Cathie Russell said. "It was just going very quickly."

"The time of day contributed to the size and magnitude of the fire," Garner Fire Rescue Chief Matt Poole said. "When there's not a lot of traffic through a subdivision this time of night it's very difficult for somebody to spot it and call it in. So the fire had progressed further than it would normally have during the day time hours."

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told ABC11 that the young man was the only person at the house when the fire started.

On social media, Benzo's friends recalled him as funny and charismatic, and said their hearts are breaking for him and his family.

RELATED: Want to help the family? Click here for the GoFundMe page.

Benzo was asleep when the fire started. His roommates were at an all-night restaurant.

The two came home to find their house gutted and their friend gone.

A neighbor says one of the roommates told him before they left that he thought he smelled something burning.

"He said it was smelling, smelling like something was burning so he went in and unplugged all the appliances," Gene Scarboro said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Authorities said the blaze did not appear to be suspicious. The investigation is ongoing.

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