Grandmother saves deaf family members from fire

Staff Writer

Last update: July 12, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH -- In the charred remains of her daughter's house on Azalea Drive, Mary Trapp shuddered Monday to think what could have happened to her child and grandson if she had not been there when flames began racing through the residence.
The 66-year-old Trapp had to roust her 49-year-old daughter and 18-year-old grandson from sleep about 3:30 a.m. as an inferno ravaged the rear of the house.

That's because Kathy and Erick Robbins are both deaf.

"If there is a God, he spoke this morning," said Trapp's best friend, Theresa Miller. "Kathy and Erick were in a dead sleep, and of course, they would not have heard anything."

Trembling slightly even though she stood in the blazing sun outside the destroyed structure, Trapp said she and Erick were watching a late movie when the teenager dozed off.

"I was heading toward the daybed in the back of the house when I heard what sounded like hail on the roof," Trapp said. "I looked up and I saw a light out of the corner of my eye."

The light turned out to be the glow of flames devouring a shed in the back yard; the blaze also was beginning to spread into the rear room of the house.

After awakening her oldest child and her grandson, Trapp called 911.

"They told me to get out of the house immediately," she said.

Daytona Beach fire Lt. John King said firefighters responding could see the flames from Mason Avenue and Nova Road as they headed toward Robbins' house.

"They knew they were going to something big at that point," King said.

The house, which Robbins purchased about two years ago with her mother's help, sustained about $70,000 in damages.

King said police are investigating the fire as arson.

"Everything happened within minutes," Trapp said. "I'm just glad I could hear the sounds. If not, you wouldn't be talking to us today."

Anyone with information is asked to call Daytona Beach police at (386) 671-5100.