Fatal Falls Church Fire Ruled Accidental

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 13-55
Date:  May 16, 2013

Fire investigators have determined a wall mounted natural gas heater in the living room caused the fire, resulting in the death of a mother and daughter, January 23, 2013, in Falls Church. The specific mode of failure could not be identified. Both victims were hearing impaired. Firefighters located smoke alarms in the home; however, investigators were unable to determine if they were visual smoke alarms due to the extensive fire damage.

According to the medical examiner, the cause of death was smoke inhalation.

Important Fire Safety Information/Tips

  • The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department offers visual smoke alarms for deaf/hard of hearing residents. The alarm produces an increased audible alert and emits a strobe light when activated. Residents may receive a visual smoke alarm by contacting the Public Affairs and Life Safety Education Division at 703-246-3801, free of charge. For additional information and resources on hearing impairment programs and materials, contact the Northern Virginia Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or visit www.nvrc.org
  • Make a home escape plan, discuss it, and practice it during the day and night. Please go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr/download/home_escape_grid.pdf to print a copy of the home escape plan.
  • Have a designated meeting place once outside.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.


Second Fire Fatality Identified

Mary Ann Margaret Gardner, 16, 3103 Manor Drive, Falls Church, has been identified as the second victim in the house fire, January 23, 2013, according to the medical examiner.

Fire investigators continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Fairfax County has recorded two fire fatalities for 2013.


One Falls Church Fire Victim Is Identified

Laura Jeanne Snyder-Gardner, 48, 3103 Manor Drive, Falls Church, has been identified as one of the victims in the house fire, January 23, 2013. Positive identification of the other victim, a female, continues. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Two Fatalities in Falls Church House Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire, Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at approximately 3:25 a.m., in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County. The single family home is located at 3103 Manor Road.

Firefighters encountered a ranch style home fully engulfed in flames upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an exterior fire attack due to the overwhelming volume of fire surrounding all four sides of the home. Additionally, power lines on the right side of the home came down while fighting the fire. The fire was brought under control in approximately 30 minutes. Firefighters conducted primary search operations and found a deceased body. Firefighters continued secondary search operations and discovered a second body. A dog and cat also perished in the fire.

The home is a complete loss.

Fire and police are both investigating. The names of the deceased will be withheld until notification of next of kin. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death. Fire investigators are investigating the cause of the fire.

For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger,
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711.
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs,
services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.
4100 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

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