An eight-year-old New York boy who rescued six of his relatives from a fire before tragically dying in the blaze is being hailed as a hero by local and national news media.
When an electrical fire broke out in his grandfather’s trailer home in Penfield, New York, Tyler Doohan was the only person to take notice — everyone else was asleep. The young boy quickly alerted his grandmother, aunt and cousins, rescuing children as young as 4 and 6 from the fast-moving blaze.
With the fire roaring, Doohan went back in to help his grandfather. His body was found near his uncle, who also perished.
Doohan’s great grandfather also died in the fire.
But the death toll might have included six other people, had Doohan not intervened, according to firefighters and neighbors who described the boy’s efforts as heroic and heartbreaking.
“It is extremely important to remember that, according to emergency personnel, [Tyler] was the person who discovered the fire and tried to wake the eight other people in the residence at the time,” said Richard Stutzman Jr., interim superintendent of Doohan’s school district, in a statement according to Fox News. “In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others — and he is truly a hero.”
Doohan’s mother, Crystal Vrooman, said she is both proud and devastated.
“It makes me really proud, it really does,” she said in an interview with ABC 13. “But I just want him back.”
Vrooman said Doohan’s grandfather was his best friend, and she had given her boy permission to spend the night at his trailer. He died trying to save the older man.
Vrooman said her son had always liked to imagine himself as a comic book hero. In the eyes of people around the country, he is now a real-life hero.
Friends of the family have launched a website for people to donate money for Doohan’s funeral costs, and also food and clothing for family members who lost everything in the tragic fire. The site has already raised over $30,000. You can donate here.