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>>

  • Remembering Beau Weiher: Montana man dies in Glacier National Park

    Remembering Beau Weiher: Montana man dies in Glacier National Park

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:01:41 GMT
    WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - A 22-year-old Montana man has died, possibly after attempting an illegal BASE jump in Glacier National Park. The National Park Service was notified at Saturday night that Beau Weiher, of Missoula, was overdue from a solo day hike in the Many Glacier Area.>>
    WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - A 22-year-old Montana man has died, possibly after attempting an illegal BASE jump in Glacier National Park. The National Park Service was notified at Saturday night that Beau Weiher, of Missoula, was overdue from a solo day hike in the Many Glacier Area.>>
  • First date ends with man dead, woman hospitalized

    First date ends with man dead, woman hospitalized

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:44:21 GMT
    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's detectives know this much: a first date ended with a Gig Harbor, Washington, man dead and his date hospitalized in critical condition.The News Tribune reports that investigators think the 47-year-old Port Orchard woman ran over her date, then crashed his truck 15 feet down an embankment.>>
    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's detectives know this much: a first date ended with a Gig Harbor, Washington, man dead and his date hospitalized in critical condition.The News Tribune reports that investigators think the 47-year-old Port Orchard woman ran over her date, then crashed his truck 15 feet down an embankment.
    >>
  • WATCH: Rarely seen 9/11 Budweiser commercial that aired only once

    WATCH: Rarely seen 9/11 Budweiser commercial that aired only once

    Thursday, September 11 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-09-12 00:52:54 GMT
    KHQ.COM - This Budweiser commercial was produced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, it hasn't been widely seen because Budweiser only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event.>>
    KHQ.COM - This Budweiser commercial was produced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, it hasn't been widely seen because Budweiser only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event.>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: President condemns "barbaric murder" of David Haines

    UPDATE: President condemns "barbaric murder" of David Haines

    Saturday, September 13 2014 8:50 PM EDT2014-09-14 00:50:23 GMT
    BEIRUT - President Obama responded to the alleged beheading of British Aid worker David Haines Saturday. The President said in a statement, "The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines," according to NBC News. New video claims to show the beheading of Haines by Islamic State group ISIS. Haines went missing in Syria last year.>>
    BEIRUT - President Obama responded to the alleged beheading of British Aid worker David Haines Saturday. The President said in a statement, "The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines," according to NBC News. New video claims to show the beheading of Haines by Islamic State group ISIS. Haines went missing in Syria last year.>>
  • Women's colleges consider transgender applicants

    Women's colleges consider transgender applicants

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-09-10 22:31:35 GMT
    BOSTON (AP) - Women's colleges are revisiting policies around enrolling transgender students. Mills College in Oakland, California, recently became the first women's college to issue a written policy saying it would accept undergraduate applications from "self-identified women" in the coming academic year.>>
    BOSTON (AP) - Women's colleges are revisiting policies around enrolling transgender students. Mills College in Oakland, California, recently became the first women's college to issue a written policy saying it would accept undergraduate applications from "self-identified women" in the coming academic year.>>
  • Snoozing burglar busted by cops

    Snoozing burglar busted by cops

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 6:30 PM EDT2014-09-10 22:30:18 GMT
    NOKOMI, Fla. (AP) - Talk about a heavy sleeper. Police say an accused burglar stayed snoozing next to a bag of jewelry he was swiping from a home despite deputies snapping pictures of him.According to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, a cleaning lady discovered 29-year-old Dion Davis on a bed inside.....>>
    NOKOMI, Fla. (AP) - Talk about a heavy sleeper. Police say an accused burglar stayed snoozing next to a bag of jewelry he was swiping from a home despite deputies snapping pictures of him.According to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, a cleaning lady discovered 29-year-old Dion Davis on a bed inside.....>>