Deadly fire, a senior community nightmare

By Peter Schaller - email

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - A neighbor was trapped in his home as fire spread quickly.  His elderly neighbors, afraid for their own lives, did what they could to help the man.  Here's how it all played out on that terrifying Saturday night.

911 Tape: Is everybody out of the building?  No someone there's somebody in there!

An elderly neighbor is trying to stay calm with a 911 operator.  His neighbor was trapped inside this burning home, the fire was spreading.  The late night blaze brought this senior citizen community out into the streets.

Richard Morgan recalled, "I walked up and rapped on the door, but it was hot so I walked back barefooted and got my phone and dialed 911."

911 Tape: Fire rescue what is your emergency?  Yes there's a fire at 8 Florida Way in Spanish Lakes.  Is the residence on fire?  Yes, the mobile home, the smoke is billowing out heavy.

They did what they could, the call was made and now they watched as flames engulfed the house with the man still stuck inside.  They had a feeling there wasn't going to be a happy ending.

911 Tape: OK we're going to get the trucks right on the way.  I'm a senior, I can't do it!  No that's fine I don't want anybody going in there, getting hurt.

Within minutes firefighters made it to the neighborhood, but it was too late for 59-year-old David Schwaben.

Morgan said, "Red hot black smoke came pouring out the bedroom side where he was, and that's where they found him."

Neighbors say David kept to himself here inside 8 Florida Way, but that didn't stop this acquaintance from doing what any best friend would do.  He tried to save a man from dying alone.  Fire investigators are blaming this deadly fire on a pot left on the stove.  Schwaben leaves behind family in Ohio.