Memorial Service To Be Held for Falls Church Fire Victims

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From left: Mary Ann Gardner and Laura Snyder-Gardner, with brother and son James Gardner. (Courtesy of the Gardner family)

From left: Mary Ann Gardner and Laura Snyder-Gardner, with brother and son James Gardner. (Courtesy of the Gardner family)

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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.

WNEW’s Kevin Patrick contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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