Couple Married For 63 Years Die In House Fire After Husband Refuses To Leave Injured Wife's Side

Kenneth and Phyllis Zer. Credit: Facebook
An elderly couple have both passed away after becoming trapped in a house fire.

Kenneth and Phyllis Zerr of New Melle, Minnesota, had lived in their Tall Cedar Court home for 18 years, when a suspected electrical fire claimed their lives in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Cpl. Barry Bayles of the St. Charles County Police Department has revealed that after police received a 911 call around 12:35AM (local time), a three-person fire crew with the New Melle Fire Protection District arrived and saw heavy spoke emanating from the property, per St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Aware of the couple trapped inside, firefighter Jeff Capstick and fire Capt. Mike Colbert rushed into the home in search of the two 84-year-olds.

More on this story in the report below:

Phyllis had fallen in the bathroom and was unable to get back to her feet, but when dispatchers told Kenneth to escape, the doting husband told them that he did not want to leave his wife of 63 years behind.

Instead, Kenneth stuffed wet towels underneath the door and remained with his wife in the hope that firefighters would get to them in time, as reported by St. Louis Post Dispatch.

The firefighters tackled the blaze with no backup and low visibility due to the "heavy black smoke", fire chief Dan Casey stated to The Dispatch.

"[The firefighters] were feeling around the bed, under the bed, on top of the bed. [But] the floor started giving way so they had to back out. They made it out in the nick of time," Casey said.
Kenneth and Phyllis Zer. Credit: Facebook
The couple passed away around 1:00AM local time while seeking shelter in the bathroom of their home.

Their granddaughter, Ashley Kozlowski, 32, said: “He’d rather stay with her than save his own life... You wanted your marriage to be like theirs. Always there for each other".

Speaking to 5 On Your Side, their son Andy, 57, said: "My father said: "I'm not leaving my wife," and he stayed with her until the very end".

Andy went on to describe his parents as "salt of the Earth" and explained how they had spent their retirement traveling together. He stated: "They loved being together. They loved life".

At this time, our thoughts go out to the Zerr family and Kenneth and Phyllis' loved ones.

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