An 8-year-old boy who died after saving six relatives from a fast-moving blaze in his grandfather’s trailer home in western New York is being remembered as a hero.
Tyler J. Doohan awoke his grandmother, aunt and cousins, including two children ages 4 and 6, after spotting the fire early Monday in the single-wide trailer off Route 441 in Penfield. Firefighters said Tyler’s body was later found near the bed of his disabled uncle, Steven D. Smith, 54, whom he was trying to save, as well as his 57-year-old grandfather, Louis J. Beach, the Democrat & Chronicle reports.
“The roof has collapsed on the front half of the trailer and one of the individuals was found there, probably on a couch, but there was nothing left to even see if it was furniture,” Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer told the newspaper. “In the rear, there was a bedroom and the other deceased male was found in a bed. The child was a few feet away.”
"In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others — and he is truly a hero.”
- East Rochester School District Superintendent Richard Stutzman, Jr.
Ebmeyer said Tyler “saved those six other people” from a fire that apparently started due to an electrical problem.
Neighbors and school officials, meanwhile, remembered Tyler, of East Rochester, as an energetic boy who spent much of his young life in different homes and school districts.
“With great sadness, the East Rochester School District confirms one of the three victims of an early-morning fire in Penfield was a fourth-grade boy at our school,” reads a news release from interim Superintendent Richard Stutzman Jr. “It is extremely important to remember that, according to emergency personnel, [Tyler] was the person who discovered the fire and tried to wake the eight other people in the residence at the time. In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others — and he is truly a hero.”
Counseling and support services were made available to all students within the district and some students at East Rochester Elementary School visited with counselors, Stutzman told FoxNews.com.
Plans for a possible memorial are being mulled, but nothing had been finalized as of Wednesday, he said.
"We're just trying to get through the next few weeks," Stutzman said.
Neighbor Jack Simms, 75, said Tyler, often a "mischievous little kid," spent a lot of time at the residence in the past few years.
"I saw him in the yard a lot," Simms told FoxNews.com. "He was kind of a wild boy, always active."
Simms said his wife witnessed the fire break out as she laid in bed early Monday, unable to sleep.
"She heard a boom and then saw a big flash of light," Simms continued. "Then she got out of bed and looked out the window and saw flames coming out of the door."
Within minutes, emergency responders and police officials were on the scene, Simms said. He was unable to see Tyler, who had apparently walked around the trailer in an attempt to reach his disabled uncle.
"It's very, very said," Simms said, adding that mourners are leaving flowers and stuffed animals in honor of Tyler at a makeshift memorial outside the trailer home.
An organization in nearby Webster has collected roughly $3,000 to help cover the cost of Tyler's funeral, Simms said. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
Other neighbors said they had been told by occupants of the trailer that officials of Morgan Management, which owns the Monroe County park, deemed it unlivable on at least one occasion and were concerned by the number of people living there.
“There was too many people, where would you put all those people?” neighbor Michelle Brosseau told the Democrat & Chronicle, adding that she considered notifying county officials. “Now, maybe, I wish I had called.”http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/22/boy-8-remembered-as-hero-after-saving-6-relatives-in-ny-blaze/