Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mother and daughter die in fire at Seminole condo complex

SEMINOLE — Neighbors would see the woman from Unit 143 raking leaves and tending to shrubs outside her home in the Twin Oaks condominium community. At 97 years old, Alice Haker was known for being talkative and staying busy.

They knew less of her 72-year-old disabled daughter, who shared the home, but only emerged for doctor's visits or other appointments with her mother.

"I give her a lot of admiration for taking care of her daughter," said neighbor John Thompson, 70.

Both mother and daughter were dead Thursday night after a fire ripped through the home. The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

It all started just before sunset, about 6 p.m., at Twin Oaks Condominiums, 11200 102nd Ave. N.

Thompson was sitting on the couch in the living room of his condo watching the evening news when he heard someone tapping on the window behind him. When he turned around, he saw smoke and flames crashing through the windows of the building next door.

He sprang to his feet and ran to the fire. He knew Haker kept the back door unlocked, so he ran through it into the burning building.

He called out Haker's name, but heard nothing. Inside, he fell to his hands and knees. He didn't get far before backing out.

"The smoke was so thick and black, I couldn't breathe," Thompson said.

When firefighters arrived, they found Haker unconscious outside the unit. She was taken to a local hospital, where she died.

Fire crews found a second woman dead inside the condo. Deputies believe that woman is Haker's daughter, whom they identified as Marlene Schaffran, but they could not make a positive identification Thursday night because of the nature of her injuries.

Homicide detectives were examining the blaze, though the circumstances did not appear suspicious, said sheriff's spokesman Tom Nestor.

Smoke and flames damaged two other units in the single-story building. It was unclear if anyone would be displaced from their home.

As authorities secured the scene, neighbors gathered behind caution tape and chatted about the women they knew and what may have caused the blaze. Thompson said the daughter was a smoker.

"I've been inside the house," Thompson said. "A lot of clutter. A lot of fuel for a fire."

Dan Sullivan can be reached at (727) 893-8321 or

Mother and daughter die in fire at Seminole condo complex 02/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2012 10:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park


    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]
  2. 4-year-old girl, man injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash


    A 4-year-old girl was airlifted with serious injuries after a personal watercraft she was riding on collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

  3. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave


    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  4. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]