Four Oklahoma Teens Rush into Burning Home to Save 90-Year-Old Woman

Firefighters walk to an area of debris from a hotel and a mobile home park in El Reno, Okla., Sunday, May 26, 2019, following a likely tornado touchdown late Saturday night. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Four teenaged boys from Tulsa, Oklahoma, are being hailed as heroes for rushing into a burning home to save the life of their 90-year-old neighbor.

The elderly homeowner, Catherine Ritchie, told officials that she was preparing for bed when her home broke out in flames, according to Western Mass News.

“I turned around, and my bed, the head of my bed, was covered in flames,” Ritchie told the media.

Local teen, 16-year-old Dylan Wick, noted that the boys smelled the smoke. “It smelled kind of like burning rubber. Then, we heard the house alarm go off,” he said.

The fire quickly got out of control, Ritchie said.

“The smoke was so bad, I couldn’t see to get out of my room,” she added. “I felt along the wall, and I went into the closet instead of the door to get out of the room. I finally did get to the door.”

The four teens jumped into action and began looking for ways to get into the home. 14-year-old Nick Byrd eventually bashed his way in the back door and found the elderly homeowner disoriented in a smoke-filled hallway.

Ritchie said that Byrd picked her up and said, “we’re getting out of here.”

Ritchie and the four teens made it safely out of the burning home, and firefighters soon arrived and stopped the growth of the flames.

Wyatt Hall, 17, and the rescue effort changed his outlook on life. “Ever since that night, my life has just changed, for the better,” he said.

For her part, Ritchie is thankful for the boys and their heroism.

“They were just special, as young as they were,” she said.

Ritchie’s daughter wrote an open letter thanking the teens for giving Ritchie’s 10 children and 42 grandchildren more time with her.

“Kids who are told about all the things they aren’t old enough to do saved the life of the most precious and beloved woman we know,” Missy Ritchie Nicholas said in her post. “We will forever be indebted to the time you bought for us and the example you set for us.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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