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Louisiana nurse dies while rescuing paraplegic patient from house fire


Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal

DELHI, La. (WFLA) – A home nurse in Louisiana is being hailed a hero for saving her paraplegic patient from a house fire that ultimately killed her.

The Delhi Fire Department responded to a call of people trapped in a house fire Monday just before 6 p.m., the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal said in a statement. 

The nurse, 64-year-old Gwendolyn Theus, and the homeowner, a 71-year-old paraplegic woman, were pulled from a bedroom.

Investigators learned from the surviving occupant that Theus came into her patient’s bedroom and alerted her to a fire in the home. Theus tried multiple times to wheel the woman’s bed out of the room even going as far as attempting to push her out the window to escape the fire, before succumbing to the smoke herself.

“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.”

Neighbors also made attempts to assist through the window from the outside before firefighters arrived, the statement said.

The paraplegic woman is expected to make a full recovery.

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

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