A fourth-grade boy died in a fire in his grandfather's Penfield, New York, trailer home after helping to save six of his relatives. Tyler Doohan, 8, had returned to the blaze in an attempt to help rescue his disabled uncle, reports the Democrat & Chronicle.
Tyler, his uncle Steve Smith and his grandfather Louis J. Beach died in the inferno this past weekend.
According to the Democrat & Chronicle, citing investigators, Tyler took it upon himself to wake his sleeping relatives once he detected the fire at around 4:45 a.m. on Monday. Two of the people Tyler helped save were children, ages 4 and 6. Tyler's body was found near the bed of his deceased uncle.
"The kid has more guts than I know of," Joseph Breyette, Tyler's uncle, told WHEC-TV. “I mean, to run back in there and go through what he went through to try to save his uncle — what can you say for the kid? He was a great kid.”
Breyette also spoke to 13-WHAM about the tragedy.
"It’s still hard to grip or even put your hands around it, you know," he said, "I don’t know why or what the plan of life is.”
WHEC-TV spoke with Richard Stutzman Jr., interim superintendent for Tyler's school.
"Tyler was a very caring young man, always had a smile on his face," Stutzman said. "Actually I just got an email from one of our staff members, who when they heard Tyler had gone back in, or continued to help his grandfather get out of the burning building, they were not surprised at all. That's the type of young man he was, and in my heart and the heart of East Rochester, he's a true hero.”
Investigators believe the fire was caused by an electrical problem, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. No foul play is suspected. Some witnesses reportedly expressed concern about the number of people living in the home.
Those who survived the fire were taken to a local hospital where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
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