LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC)– A memorial service will be held today for Laura Snyder-Gardner and Mary Ann Gardner, the mother and daughter who were killed in an early-morning house fire in Falls Church Jan. 23.
Snyder-Gardner was a faculty member at Gallaudet University and her daughter attended Model Secondary School for the Deaf.
The service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in Gallaudet’s Elstad Auditorium but it will also be streamed online.
It’s been less than a week since their deaths, but a scholarship fund has already been established in their names.
The blaze began shortly before 3:30 a.m. Jan. 23, authorities say. The home was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but one neighbor describes being awoken by a thump that he thought was an explosion.
“I started to get up and then I heard the woman next door scream,” he told WNEW. “I know it was her voice. I heard her scream once and then I heard her scream a second time. By the time I got around my bed to the window… the entire house was engulfed in flame.”
A Fairfax County Fire Department spokesperson confirms two dogs and two cats also perished in the blaze.
The home is “virtually unrecognizable” according to WNEW reporter Kevin Patrick.