An elderly couple tragically died in a house fire in New Melle, Missouri. New Melle Fire Protection District Chief Dan Casey said that 84-year-old Kenneth Zerr called 911 and said that he and his wife, Phyllis, also 84, were trapped in their bedroom by the flames.
Kenneth told the dispatcher that his wife was on the floor, and he couldn’t move her. The dispatcher urged Kenneth to leave, but he refused, vowing to stay with his wife.
“We were able to speak to an elderly gentleman, who informed us that there was a fire of some type,” St. Charles County Police Corporal Barry Bayles told KTVI. “We did not get any specifics, or he could not give any specifics at the time. We were talking to him about that, we asked him about getting out of the house. He said that his wife was on the floor, wasn’t able to move her, and he was not going to be leaving her at the time. It is tragic, you know, two lives were lost here this morning.”
When firefighters arrived, they rushed inside to locate the couple but had to retreat after the stairs collapsed as they tried to reach their bedroom.
By the time they did make it back inside, the couple had died. Their son, Andy, told the news station that they passed away holding hands.
“My father had a chance to get out of the house by himself but elected to stay with my mom,” Andy said. “They were wonderful with each other. They loved each other to the end.”
Officials believe the fire was caused by a faulty appliance in the basement but said that investigators are still working to determine what happened.