Nurse killed while trying to save her patient in house fire

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, November 25, 2020

DELHI, La. — Officials with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office continue to investigate the cause of a house fire in Delhi, La. Monday evening where a nurse died saving her disabled patient.

Just before 6 p.m. Monday, the Delhi Fire Department responded to a call for a house fire on the 100 block of Macon Drive with people reportedly trapped inside.

When firefighters arrived, they discovered two women in a bedroom. One woman, a 71-year-old paraplegic, was revived and flown to a burn unit in Mississippi, while the other woman, Gwendolyn Theus, 54, died at the scene.

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Theus was a home nurse for the disabled homeowner.

In a release from the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, investigators learned from the homeowner that Theus came into her bedroom and alerted her that the house was on fire.

Theus reportedly tried multiple times to wheel the woman’s bed out of the room but was unable to do so. Eventually, Theus pulled the survivor from her bed and tried to push her out of the window. It was then that Theus was overcome by the smoke. 

Neighbors also made attempts to assist through the window from the outside before firefighters arrived. The 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,” Louisiana 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.”