Uncle rushes into burning home to rescue niece


ABERDEEN, Wash (CNN) — A young man is fighting the pain of serious burns after rushing back into a burning house to save his niece.

“Even though I got burnt, I really didn’t care though,” said Derrick Byrd. “I’d rather get burnt than her. She’s young. She’s still got a lot of stuff going for her. She’s a good kid.”

With gauze covering his face, arms and back, Derrick Byrd wants you to know how special his niece mercedes and nephews junior and rory are.

And that’s why when the fire broke out Thursday morning at their Aberdeen home, he jumped into action, helping the kids’ mother, Kayla, his sister.

“Kayla wanted to get the kids out, so I ran downstairs even though I got burnt,” Byrd said. “Started catching the kids. I caught Junior and I caught baby Rory out of Kayla’s window.”

But 8-year-old Mercedes was afraid to jump and when her mom fell off the roof, Mercedes fell back into the burning room.

“She was screaming my name,” Byrd said. “So I wasn’t just going to let her sit there. I wasn’t going to let my niece die. And I just ran up the stairs and pushed through the fire. I could feel it burning me. I got her and took my shirt off and put it around her face so she wouldn’t breath in any smoke and I just carried her out as fast as I could.”

Mercedes and 6-year-old junior were airlifted the Harborview, and so was Derrick.

He’s being hailed as a hero.

Lt. CJ Chastain said helping his niece survive was heroic

“That’s a lot of heart and a lot of courage,” said Lydia Marano.

“I can’t say a hero. I’d just say for my niece and nephews, I wasn’t going to let them die,” Byrd said.

The house appears to be a total loss with firefighters and police just thankful nobody died, all thanks to the quick action of a loving uncle.

“I’d do it again. I really would,” Byrd said. “I don’t care. I really would. I’d run back in there and do it again even if I got burnt worse or died.”

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(This story was originally published on July 8, 2019)

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