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Peoria father recovering from burns after saving daughter from house fire

Posted at 7:26 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-15 18:08:21-04

PEORIA, AZ — A father is in the hospital recovering from burn injuries after he saved his daughter from a house fire in Peoria last week.

The family's home was destroyed on May 4 near 99th and Olive Avenues.

Maeghan Gerloff was at work when the fire broke and her son was at school. Her husband Tom and daughter Lexie were in the house.

"He said he smelled something that smelled like an electrical fire so he went to the back patio," said Gerloff.

One of their sofas was on fire. Tom tripped and fell through another hot, melted sofa, getting seriously burned.

"All over his chest, his left arm, his back, his stomach, his left calf and right knee and calf and upper thigh," said his wife.

His 4-year-old daughter was still in the house.

"I think at that point it was papa bear and adrenaline," said Gerloff. "So he had to run around, jumped the fence to go through the front door and scoop her out and take her out."

Lexie had minor smoke inhalation and is doing fine. Tom has been in the hospital getting deep cleaning on his wounds and waiting to see if he'll need skin grafts.

"His spirits are great, he's been doing physical therapy the way he's supposed to. He wants to get out. His motivation is our daughter turns 5 next week and he wants to be out for her birthday," said Gerloff.

Tom Gerloff

Except for the frame, the house is destroyed.

"My father-in-law designed and built the house from the ground up 35 years ago, they lived in it for so long and then we ended up in the house. It's a family house. We want to ideally keep it, and rebuild it and start fresh for everybody," said Gerloff.

Maeghan said it's been tough, but she's grateful for the community's support.

A GoFundMe account was created to help the family. She said friends, coworkers and strangers have also donated food and clothing.