Two killed in house fire in Falls Church


Investigators work at the scene of a fatal house fire on Wednesday in Falls Church, Va. (Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)
January 23, 2013

Two people died in a fire that ripped through the home of a deaf family in Falls Church early Wednesday.

The single-story home at 3103 Manor Rd. was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived about 3:20 a.m. It was destroyed by the flames.

Neighbors said two deaf women, a mother and daughter, lived in the home, but authorities did not confirm the identities of the victims pending notification of their next of kin.

Steven Klass, 63, lives next door to the destroyed house and said he heard a loud boom early Wednesday that shook him awake. He then heard two screams from a voice he recognized. When he looked out the window, he saw the fire and called police.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” Klass said. “The whole place went up just in a heartbeat.”

Two people were killed in a fire at a Falls Church home early Wednesday. (Video courtesy Nuntaporn Noppakoon/The Washington Post)

Klass said a mother and daughter had been living at the home for about two years after moving from Florida. He said the mother was a professor at Gallaudet University, and colleagues there confirmed the connection to the school.

Klass said the two would wave and say hello, and he described them as “sweet, wonderful people.”

Klass said that a man had been living in the home recently but that his car was not there when the fire erupted.

Bounsana Vorachack, 45, a neighbor, said he would occasionally help residents of the home with odd jobs such as putting a spare tire on the car or checking the car battery.

He said that he did not know the residents well.

Two dogs and eight cats also died in the fire, authorities said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.

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