Nurse dies while saving patient from house fire

Her “... valiant efforts to put her patient’s life before her own are both admirable and heartbreaking,” LA fire marshal says

Nurse dies while saving patient from house fire
Gwendolyn Theus, 64, died while the home nurse was trying to save her 71-year-old patient, who is paraplegic, when the two became trapped in a bedroom during a house fire in Delhi on the evening of Nov. 23, authorities said. The patient is expected to make a full recovery. (Source: Louisiana fire marshal's office)

RICHLAND PARISH, La. (KNOE/Gray TV) — A Northeast Louisiana nurse sacrificed her life trying to save a patient during a house fire in Richland Parish, authorities say.

According to the Louisiana state fire marshal’s office, it happened just before 6 p.m. Nov. 23 at a residence in the 100 block of Macon Drive in Delhi.

Authorities say 64-year-old Gwendolyn Theus was a home nurse for an elderly woman. She and her 71-year-old patient, who is paraplegic, became trapped in a bedroom after a fire started in the home.

Theus tried multiple times to wheel the patient’s bed out of the home, officials said. This did not work.

Eventually, Theus pulled the patient from her bed and tried to push her out a window. At this point, Theus succumbed to the smoke.

With the help of neighbors and firefighters, the elderly patient was saved. She was revived and flown to a burn unit in Mississippi and is expected to make a full recovery, authorities said.

“Ms. Theus’ valiant efforts to put her patient’s life before her own are both admirable and heartbreaking,” Louisiana 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.”

Due to extensive damage to the home, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The residence did have working smoke alarms.

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