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Man stayed by wife’s side in Missouri house fire; both died

NEW MELLE, Mo. (AP) – Fire officials say an elderly Missouri couple died when a man refused to leave his wife as their home burned around them.

Kenneth and Phyllis Zerr, both 84, died in the fire Thursday at their home in New Melle, Missouri.

New Melle Fire Chief Dan Casey said Kenneth Zerr called 911 to report the fire, opened a door for firefighters and then went back to his wife, who was on a bathroom floor.

Casey says Kenneth Zerr could not get his wife up off the floor and they were eventually trapped as the floor began collapsing. Firefighters tried to reach the couple but had to retreat.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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