Tyler Doohan, an 8-year-old, tragically died in the process of saving six people from a roaring trailer fire.
Tyler, a fourth-grader at East Rochester Elementary School in Rochester, New York, had a school holiday, and was sleeping over at his grandfather’s trailer in Penfield, New York, a suburb of Rochester.
A fire broke out around 4:45 am, most likely caused by an electrical problem.
Tyler was the first to be awoken by the fire, and immediately woke up six other people sleeping in the trailer, including two other children, ages 4 and 6. All six were able to exit the trailer alive due to Tyler’s warnings.
However, in an act of incredible courage, Tyler went back into the trailer in an effort to rescue his uncle, Steven Smith, age 54, who was confined to a wheelchair due to a broken leg.
Unfortunately, Tyler didn’t make it back out. He perished in the fire during the rescue attempt, along with his uncle and 57-year-old grandfather Louis Beach. Fire investigators found Tyler a few feet away from his uncle’s bed.
Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer said the casualties would have been much worse if not for Tyler’s heroic actions.
Tyler’s school district sent a letter to its families saying Tyler “bravely and selflessly” gave his own life “to save the lives of six others – and he is truly a hero.”
Following the tragedy, almost 1,000 people contributed to a fund to pay for Tyler’s funeral. Many sent heartfelt notes and remembrances honoring Tyler’s courageous act.