Kenneth Zerr: How a Missouri man and wife lost their lives in a fire outbreak after refusing to leave her behind when she was trapped

Kenneth Zerr and Phyllis Zerr

An elderly Missouri couple died in a fire when a man, Kenneth Zerr, refused to leave his wife, Phyllis Zerr, as their home burned and the floor that was their escape route collapsed, fire officials from New Melle Fire Protection District revealed.

The Zerrs, both 84, died in a fire at their home in New Melle, Missouri, 37 miles (59.55 kilometers) from St. Louis.

When the fire started

New Melle Fire Protection District said the fire started on the bottom floor of the home, eventually working its way upstairs to the two bedrooms.

The couple had been hiding in the master bedroom and when firefighters arrived, the entire upstairs floor began to collapse.

Kenneth had been trying to help his wife, who had fallen in the bathroom, out of the home when dispatchers encouraged him to get out as fast as possible, but he refused to Phyllis and shortly after they were trapped.

‘My father said: “I’m not leaving my wife,” and he stayed with her until the very end,’ their son Andy told 5 On Your Side.

Kenneth reportedly shoved wet towels under the door and prayed the fire department would come shortly.

By the time firefighters pushed through the thick, black smoke, the couple had already died, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

‘The house was full of smoke. They couldn’t see. Zero visibility,‘ Fire Chief Dan Casey told the Post-Dispatch.

Kenneth Zerr and Phyllis Zerr were married for 63 years

Kenneth Zerr and Phyllis Zerr were married for 63 years
Kenneth Zerr and Phyllis Zerr were married for 63 years

The couple, who leave behind three children and several grandchildren, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in September.

Kenneth celebrated his 84th birthday just two days before the deadly fire.

Kenneth was a  retired IT services VP for Community Federal Bank and Phyllis was a retired receptionist for Prairie Farms.

In their retirement, the couple loved to travel and had made several trips together.

The couple were also devout Catholics and had a strong marriage.

Written by GhLinks Media

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