Family's deaths hit Vietnamese community hard

A steady stream of prayers from members of a close-knit Vietnamese community stretching from Everett to Tacoma was offered Tuesday for 24-year-old Doanh Tran, who remained in critical condition from the carbon-monoxide poisoning that killed his parents and two brothers.

Tran, working two jobs to bring his young wife and month-old son to the United States from Vietnam, was the only person in his parents' Burien home to survive the poisoning that was apparently caused by a generator run from the garage.

Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff's spokesman, said the deaths were discovered Monday by deputies who had been asked to check on the family by relatives who hadn't spoken to them since Saturday.

Deputies broke in, found Doanh Tran alive but unconscious, and rushed him to Harborview Medical Center.

His father Khanh Tran, 46; his mother, Dan Thuy Nguyen, 44; and two of his brothers, 21-year-old Quyen Tran and 14-year-old John Quoc Tran, were dead.

A third brother, 19-year-old Canh Tran, was not at the home over the weekend. He is a student living on campus at the University of Washington.

Six people, including the members of the Tran family, have been killed by carbon-monoxide poisoning since last week's storm left hundreds of thousands without power. A Shoreline family narrowly escaped the same fate Tuesday morning, police said. The family of five was taken to a local hospital after burning coal or charcoal in a small stove in their living room.

Canh Tran, who is staying with a friend, could not be reached Tuesday, but other relatives and friends said the family was well-known and well-loved in the local Catholic Vietnamese community.

"This was a very good family," said the Rev. Anthony Lam Tran of St. Peter Catholic Community Church.

"The parents were very strong and very good to each other. They loved each other and their children very much, and the sons obeyed their parents."

The Rev. Tran, who is not related to the family, said the parents were from the southernmost province of Vietnam and shared that background with many in their church community.

"They had a lot of friends here that shared their same country, same province, same patterns," he said. "They celebrated their birthdays together, had breakfasts and parties, and they shared the prayers honoring their ancestors."

Khanh Tran, who immigrated with his family in 1990, was very hardworking and friendly, said those who knew him.

A professional landscaper who cultivated his own yard carefully with bonsai, roses, rhododendrons and other plants, Khanh Tran offered yard help to anyone who asked.

His wife, who suffered from arthritis that crippled her hands, was a stay-at-home mom. She was known as a great cook and a great friend.

Quyen Tran was focused and driven, his friends said. He was studying at South Seattle Community College to become a mechanic and often told people he didn't have time for a girlfriend, said family friend Phuong Nguyen.

The youngest son, John Quoc Tran, was a freshman at Evergreen High School, a computer-game whiz and an aspiring tycoon.

"He was a funny guy, too," said his friend, Duke Nguyen, 15, who was grieving on the Tran family's porch Tuesday. "And really nice. The whole family was nice."

Members of the congregation, which holds its services at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church on 12th Avenue South in Seattle, said they will honor the Tran family during a Mass on Sunday.

Said friend Doan Do: "They were a very nice family and very nice friends."

Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green contributed to this report.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or