Deaf Woman, Two Children Killed in Dallas Apartment Fire

DALLAS (AP) -- A fire swept through an apartment while a deaf couple slept early Sunday, killing a mother, her 3-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter, officials said.

The woman's husband and their two older boys, ages 6 and 7, escaped with minor smoke inhalation, Dallas fire Capt. Jesse Garcia said.

Smoke detectors went off when the fire started about 6 a.m. on the first floor of the family's apartment, but both parents were deaf and could not hear the alarms, Garcia said. The bedrooms were on the unit's second floor, with the kitchen and living room below.

Fire officials believe the 6-year-old heard the smoke detectors and woke up his parents.

``Otherwise, they would have all been dead,'' Garcia said.

However, the parents' inability to hear the detectors probably cost precious seconds, he said.

Tyrus Burks helped the older boys to safety, apparently dropping one out a window, Garcia said. But Sephra Burks, 25, never made it to the stairs with 3-year-old Antonio and 10-month-old Biviana.

``She was apparently overcome with the smoke and fell down with her children,'' Garcia said. ``It was a real tragic sight for a firefighter. They were all huddled together.''

About 60 firefighters extinguished the blaze within about an hour. Eight apartment units sustained an estimated $100,000 in damages.

Fire officials were investigating the cause.