Terry Gapsch killed in Mehlville house fire

7:49 PM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - One person is dead and three are injured after a fire broke out Tuesday morning at a south St. Louis County home.

Firefighters and police were called to the home in the 10000 block of St. Simon Court around 1:30 a.m.

Officer Rick Eckhard with the St. Louis County Police Department says 13-year-old Mia Gapsch escaped the fire and ran to a neighbor's home for help. She told the neighbors three other people were still inside her home.

Police were the first to arrive on the scene, but were unable to enter the home because of the smoke. When firefighters arrived, they pulled out three people.

Georgetta Gapsch, 79; Terry Gapsch, 38; Maci Gapsch, 11; and Mia were taken to an area hospital.

Terry was pronounced dead upon his arrival.  His grandmother, Georgetta, and daughter, Maci, are listed in critical condition. Mia, Terry's other daughter, was treated for minor injuries.

Family says Terry ran back inside the house to rescue one of his daughters and fell through the staircase.

The fire is believed to have originated in the basement of the home. The St. Louis County Police Arson & Explosives Unit is investigating.

Terry's uncle, a firefighter with the Mehlville Fire Protection District, was one of the first on the scene. He helped pull Georgette (his mother) and Macy from the burning house while trying to extinguish the fire. 

"Early this morning, our lives changed forever," the Gapsch family said in a statement. "It will be our believe in God, our love of family and our gratitude to the Mehlville Fire Protection District that will get us through this painful day and the weeks and months to come." 

A previous version of this story stated Georgetta Gapsch had died. That information was obtained from the St. Louis County Police Department.

The following statement was released Tuesday morning by Eckhard:
"It has been brought to my attention that although transported and in critical condition, Ms. Georgetta Gapsch was not pronounced deceased as earlier believed. In the urgency of transporting the victims to the hospital, Ms. Georgetta Gapsch condition was either misreported or misunderstood at the time media asked. I apologize for this inaccuracy as I would not want to do anything to cause this family additional grief during this horrible tragedy. The other information sent about the other three family members is correct. I will advise if anything changes as we keep Georgetta Gapsch and her family in our prayers."


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