SFM: Home nurse dies saving paraplegic patient from Louisiana house fire


DELHI, La. (KLFY) The State Fire Marshal’s Office says it continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding a house fire in Delhi where a woman died saving her disabled patient.

64-year-old Gwendolyn Theus, a home nurse, died Tuesday after being overwhelmed by smoke Monday, SFM officials said.

Trapped in a bedroom, Theus pulled her patient out of her bed and tried to push her out of a window to save her from the fire, but the nurse was overwhelmed by the smoke. 

Neighbors also tried to help through the window before members of the Delhi Fire Department made it to the scene.

Due to extensive damage, SFM deputies say they have been unable to access the scene in order to begin efforts to determine an area of origin or the cause.

Theus’ 71-year-old patient told firefighters that the nurse went into her room, told her about the fire, and tried several times to maneuver the patient’s bed out of the room before pulling her out of the bed, a release from Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office said.

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

Firefighters eventually pulled both women from a bedroom and tried to save their lives. The patient, who owned the home, was airlifted to a burn unit in Mississippi and is expected to recover.

Firefighters responded to the fire just before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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