Second person dies in south St. Louis County house fire


by staff

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 11:36 AM

(KMOV) – A woman hospitalized after her house caught fire in Mehlville Tuesday morning has died, according to officials.

Georgetta Gapsch, 79, became the second victim killed in the fire after being pronounced dead at St. Anthony's Medical Center Wednesday morning. Her son, 38-year-old Terry Gapsch, died Tuesday.

According to authorities, four family members were sleeping at a home near the intersection of Tesson Ferry and St. Simon around 1 a.m. when Terry Gapsch noticed smoke and woke up his 13-year-old daughter, Mia.

He guided her out of the house and the child ran to a neighbor’s home and called authorities while Terry went back inside.

Police arrived to the home and attempted to go in the home, but heavy smoke forced them out.

Click here to view photos of the scene.

Firefighters responded to the scene and quickly distinguished the one-alarm blaze before rescuing Georgetta, Terry and 11-year-old Maci Gapsch from the home.

Terry Gapsch was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Georgetta Gapsch and Maci Gapsch were hospitalized in critical condition.

The 13-year-old, Mia Gapsch, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Authorities said the fire appeared to have started in the basement of the house. St. Louis County Police arson units were investigating the cause.

The Gapsch Family released a statement Tuesday night.

“Early this morning, our lives changed forever. It will be our belief 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," the statement read.

"T.J.’s uncle (Georgette’s son), a firefighter with the Mehlville Fire Protection District, was one of the first on the scene. He, along with the brave men and women of the Mehlville Fire Protection District and neighboring fire districts, help pull Georgette and Macy from the burning house while trying to distinguish the fire. T.J. died while trying to save the daughters he loved so dearly."