Persistent Omaha police officers alert deaf couple to house fire; family escapes injury -
Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 9:28 am
Persistent Omaha police officers alert deaf couple to house fire; family escapes injury

Stephanie Doffin thought she was dreaming.

She awoke to two flashlights shining through her window about 4:45 a.m. Sunday. She went to the front door, where two Omaha police officers told her the house was on fire.

Doffin, 27, and her boyfriend, James Black, 36, are both deaf. They couldn't hear the officers knocking on the door. They had no smoke alarm.

While on patrol, Officer Michael Wright came upon the fire at 1455 S. 14th St. and notified the Fire Department.

Wright and Officer Chithauta Hester helped evacuate the couple, their 10-month-old daughter, Terri Lynn Black, and their cat, as well as other residents in an upstairs apartment.

“We were so scared and worried about what happened,” said Doffin, who is expecting the couple's second child.

Black said he was initially confused by the flashlights. When he saw the fire, he said, “I pushed my family out.”

Damage was contained to the front of the house, and the interior was untouched.

Wright and Hester were not available for comment. But an Omaha fire official said the fire could have been a “much larger problem” had Wright not detected it.

The cause of the fire had not been announced.

As the couple played with their daughter at home Tuesday afternoon, Doffin said she's grateful for the officers' actions.

Black, who paints and drywalls while Doffin stays at home with the baby, has begun saving up money for a three-bedroom trailer.

For now, “I will have to talk to my landlord about a smoke alarm with (a) flash,” Doffin said of the devices modified for the hearing impaired.

State Department moves to delay Keystone XL pipeline decision
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
High court denies death row appeal of cult leader convicted of murder
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Police seek public's help in finding an armed man
Saturday forecast opens window for gardening; Easter egg hunts look iffy on Sunday
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Last day of 2014 Legislature: Praise, passage of a last few bills and more on mountain lions
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
A voice of experience: Ex-gang member helps lead fight against Omaha violence
Church is pressing its case for old Temple Israel site
OPPD board holding public forum, open house May 7
The thrill of the skill: Omaha hosts statewide contest for students of the trades
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
Teen killed at Gallagher Park was shot in head as he sat in SUV, friend who was wounded says
< >
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »