First of two victims identified in Falls Church house fire

Authorities have identified one of two victims of a fire that raged through a home in Falls Church early Wednesday as Laura Jeanne Snyder-Gardner, 48.

Fairfax County fire officials have not confirmed the identity of the second victim, but they said it was also a female. Neighbors and colleagues believe it was Snyder-Gardner's daughter.

Snyder-Gardner, who was deaf, taught at Gallaudet University, and her daughter, Mary Ann, also deaf, attended secondary school on the campus, according to neighbors and colleagues.

The presumed deaths were the talk on Gallaudet’s campus Wednesday and Thursday, with some wondering whether an alarm was installed to alert the deaf family to the fire, and whether Snyder-Gardner was able to call for help. Gallaudet has been working with the Federal Communications Commission to improve the ability to text for emergency 911 services.

The fire raged at about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday morning at 3103 Manor Road in Falls Church. Two dogs and eight cats were also killed. The house was destroyed. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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