8-Year-Old Boy Rescues 6 Relatives, Dies Trying to Save 7th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

8-Year-Old Boy Rescues 6 Relatives, Dies Trying to Save 7th

Posted: Updated:
Photo from CNN Photo from CNN

(CNN) -- In his final moments, 8-year-old Tyler Doohan managed to rescue six people -- including two younger children -- from a burning mobile home in upstate New York, authorities said.

A last-ditch effort, however, to save his disabled grandfather cost the boy his life. His body was found by his grandfather, whom Tyler considered a best friend.
"It makes me really proud, it really does, but I just want him back," Tyler's mother, Crystal Vrooman, told CNN affiliate WHAM.

Tyler, an East Rochester resident, was staying at the home of relatives in the nearby town of Penfield on Sunday night when he noticed a fire in the single-wide trailer, said Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer.

As firefighters and sheriff's deputies responded to 4:45 a.m. emergency call, Tyler was able to wake six other people in the small trailer, including two more children, ages 4 and 6, the fire chief said.

Then Tyler went back into the blaze to help his grandfather, who was disabled and would have been unable to get out of the home on his own, Ebmeyer said.

"By that time, the fire had traveled to the back of the trailer," said Ebmeyer. "Unfortunately they both succumbed to heat and smoke."

The pair were found together on a bed in the back room. It appeared that the boy was trying to lift his grandfather from the bed when he was overcome by the smoke and fire, the fire chief said. Tyler and his grandfather were like best friends, Vrooman said.

An online fundraising campaign on YouCaring.com had raised more than $28,000 as of Wednesday for Tyler's funeral and his family.

Tyler's uncle also was killed in the fire. His body was found in a front room, Ebmeyer said.

Earlier, fire officials had released a mistaken version of the incident, where the grandfather's and uncle's locations were switched, due to incorrect information provided by a family member.

Tyler's mother said the boy broke away from his aunt outside the burning trailer and ran back inside to try to save his grandfather.

"All I could think about is how he couldn't breathe," Vrooman told WHAM.

She added: "I'm just so grateful that he went with people that he loved. He didn't go alone."

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation but believed to be accidental.

The conditions of the six survivors were not immediately available.

Ebmeyer said the trailer had no working smoke detector. He lamented that with so many people in one small mobile home, one alarm could have easily woken everyone in time to escape.

There was at least one space heater inside the trailer, the fire chief said.

Several pets -- including dogs, cats, a rabbit and hamsters -- also died in the fire, Ebmeyer said.

The Penfield Fire Company -- a volunteer unit -- intends to create a public service initiative to spread awareness and get smoke detectors out to the public, he said.

Meanwhile, Richard Stutzman Jr., interim superintendent of the East Rochester School District, where Tyler attended fourth grade, issued a statement:

"In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others -- and he truly is a hero."

By: Chris Boyette 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:02:36 GMT
    KHQ.COM - One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am on Tuesday. At this point police do not have a suspect description but are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.>>
    KHQ.COM - One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am on Tuesday. At this point police do not have a suspect description but are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:00:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
  • PHOTOS: Share your back-to-school pics!

    PHOTOS: Share your back-to-school pics!

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:18:59 GMT
    KHQ.COM - School is starting! Everyone knows the drill right? Before you can run out the door and jump on the bus, mom always has to snag a picture to remember her little baby growing up through the years! We want to see those photos! Whether they are from this year, last year or 50 years ago, send us the photos of your first day of school!>>
    KHQ.COM - School is starting! Everyone knows the drill right? Before you can run out the door and jump on the bus, mom always has to snag a picture to remember her little baby growing up through the years! We want to see those photos! Whether they are from this year, last year or 50 years ago, send us the photos of your first day of school!>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Home Depot investigating potential credit and debit card breach

    Home Depot investigating potential credit and debit card breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:10 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:10:56 GMT
    Home improvement retailer Home Depot says it may be the latest victim of a massive credit card security breach. The Atlanta-based company confirmed Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and it's working with both banks and law enforcement.>>
    Home improvement retailer Home Depot says it may be the latest victim of a massive credit card security breach. The Atlanta-based company confirmed Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and it's working with both banks and law enforcement.>>
  • US military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,202

    US military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,202

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:24 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:24:36 GMT
    KHQ.COM - As of Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, at least 2,202 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.>>
    KHQ.COM - As of Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, at least 2,202 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.>>
  • Video released by ISIS shows beheading of US journalist

    Video released by ISIS shows beheading of US journalist

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:14:48 GMT
    BEIRUT (AP) - An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group. >>
    BEIRUT (AP) - An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group. Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syrian in August 2013 until he appeared in a video released online last month by the Islamic State group that showed the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley.>>