Delhi home nurse dies while trying to save paraplegic patient from fire

Louisiana

DELHI, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Deputies with the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (SFM) are investigating a house fire in Delhi where a home health nurse died saving her disabled patient.

According to SFM, the fire happened just before 6 p.m. Nov. 23 on Macon Drive. The Delhi Fire Department responded to the house fire where two people were trapped in the bedroom.

The 71-year-old female homeowner, who is paraplegic, was pulled from the home and revived before being flown to a burn unit in Mississippi.

The other occupant, the disabled homeowner’s home nurse who was identified as 64-year-old Gwendolyn Theus, did not survive.

The fire damage to the home was so extensive that SFM deputies have been unable to get into the scene to begin their investigations on what caused the fire.

SFM deputies did learn that Theus gave her life trying saving her patient. According to the elderly homeowner, Theus came into her bedroom and alerted her to the fire. Theus tried multiple times to wheel the patients bed out of the room without success. Theus then pulled the patient from the bed and was trying to get her out of a window when Theus succumbed to the smoke.

SFM says that neighbors also tried to help through the window from the outside before firefighters made it to the scene.

The elderly homeowner is expected to make a full recovery.

“Ms. Theus’ valiant efforts to put her patient’s life before her own are both admirable and heartbreaking,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “Our prayers are with her loved ones and with the surviving victim for her recovery and loss of her dedicated nurse and friend.”

Extensive damage has kept investigators from getting inside the house to try to figure out where and how the fire started, the news release said.

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