Heroic Uncle Who Ran into Burning Home to Save Niece: ‘I Would Do It Again’

ABERDEEN, Wash. (Video from KOMO via CNN) — A 20-year-old Washington man is being called a hero after he ran into a burning home to save his 8-year-old niece, who was trapped inside.
KOMO via CNN

A 20-year-old uncle is suffering from second-to-third degree burns in the hospital after he ran into his burning home in Aberdeen, Washington, to save his niece.

Derrick Byrd is struggling through the pain of second and third-degree burns on his face and back after he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center following the Thursday morning fire, KOMO reported.

“I’d do it again,” he said. “I really would. I don’t care. I really would. I’d run back in there and do it again even if I got burnt worse or died,” he told KOMO.

The fire erupted early Thursday morning when six family members were inside the house, the Daily Mail reported. The kids upstairs began yelling, “fire, fire!” prompting Byrd to run outside the home.

He caught his nephews, Rory and Junior, after they both jumped from a window on the second floor. His sister Kayla, the mother of the children, slipped and fell off the roof she attempted to climb.

Byrd’s eight-year-old niece Mercedes was terrified after witnessing her mother fall to the ground, so she hesitated to jump from the burning building.

It was at that point the heroic uncle ran back into the burning home, which was almost completely covered in flames, to find his niece crying on the floor through smog and searing heat. He then took his shirt off, wrapped it around her face, and carried her out of the home.

“Even though I got burnt,” said Byrd. “I really didn’t care, though. I’d rather get burnt than her. She’s young. She’s still got a lot of stuff going for her. She’s a good kid.”

Fire investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire, but determined the fire started on the second floor.

The house was a total loss, prompting community members to start food, toy, and clothing drives to help the family get back on their feet again.

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