“I’m not leaving my wife behind,” Kenneth Zerr told dispatchers as a raging fire burned down the home he shared with his wife Phyllis. Kenneth and Phyllis, both 84, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in September. When the fire broke out at their home in New Melle, Kenneth quickly sprang into action. As flames were engulfing their house, Kenneth called 911 to report the fire and opened a door for firefighters to enter. Meanwhile, Phyllis, who uses a wheelchair, had fallen on the floor of the bathroom in their bedroom. When Kenneth was trying to help Phyllis out of the house, the bedroom floor collapsed, destroying their only escape route. Kenneth tried to keep smoke out by stuffing water-soaked towels under the door. He was on the phone with dispatchers at the time who urged him to get out of the house – Kenneth said he was not going to leave Phyllis and stayed with her until the end. Their son Andy told KTVI News that the couple died holding hands. Andy described his parents as “a pillar of the community.”
Firefighters battled high heat and zero visibility when they arrived at the house on Tall Cedar Court. Sadly, it was too late by the time they got to the Zerrs. Fire officials say they died of smoke inhalation. A fire investigation is underway. Investigators suspect that a basement appliance sparked the blaze.
Faulty Appliances Cause Irreparable Harm
Everyday appliances that you rely on to run your home should not cause irreparable harm. When poorly serviced or defective appliances spark a fire, the damage can cause families to lose their loved ones. When a death is involved, families may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the appliance manufacturer, the manufacturer of any component parts, the maintenance company that serviced the appliance, and any other wrongdoers. While no amount of money could ever make up for your family’s loss, filing a wrongful death lawsuit will help you get the justice that your loved one deserves.
Talk to an Experienced Fire Lawyer
Pritzker Hageman is one of the few law firms in the country with experience representing families who lost a loved one in fire lawsuits. If someone you love died in a fire, it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.