"I'd run back in there and do it again, even if I got burnt worse or died," said 20-year-old Derrick Byrd of his actions.
Last week, a three-story home situated in Aberdeen, Washington had caught the wrath of fire. The incident took place around 4 a.m last Thursday and fortunately no one died. However, one of its residents is being held with high regard for his heroic response of risking his own life to save his 8-year-old niece from the flame-engulfed house. According to PEOPLE, this 20-year-old Washington man does not regret even a second of his actions even though he himself sustained severe burns.
Uncle Who Saved Niece, 8, by Running Into Burning House 'Would Do It Again' Despite Severe Burns https://t.co/q5lUQj8wvm— People (@people) July 9, 2019
When the fire broke out, Derrick Byrd was present inside the house and so was his sister Kayla Johnson and her kids Mercedes, Junior and Rory. Acting on his feet, Byrd was primarily focused on getting his niece and nephews out of harm's way. Speaking to 14 News, he explained how he ran through the fire and made his way downstairs. Fearing his nephew and niece would suffer burns he asked them to jump from the second-floor window.
God Bless you hero— Deb Schadlick (@catemegbob) July 9, 2019
Executing this plan he was successful in catching Junior and Rory. "I ran down the stairs, even though I got burnt, started catching the kids. I caught Junior, and I caught baby Rory out the window," he told the outlet. However, Mercedes was still present inside the house and was too scared to jump from that height and after witnessing her mother fall off the roof, she frightfully went back into the burning room.
HERO GOD BLESS YOU FOR SAVING YOUR NIECE. GOD SPEED RECOVERY TO A NATURAL BORN HERO.— Londy (Yolanda) Lodato Stewart (@Londy111) July 9, 2019
The 20-year-old then explained how he made his way past the raging fire to get little Mercedes, who had been calling out his name, back to safety. "She was screaming my name, so I wasn't going to let her just sit there. I wasn't going to let my niece die. I 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 breathe in any smoke. I just carried her out as fast as I could," said Byrd.
True hero, & wonderful uncle. 💙💙— Deb Wyllie (@debwyllie54) July 9, 2019
Shortly after the entire family was out of harm's way, the emergency rescuers arrived at the scene and airlifted Mercedes, Byrd, and Junior to the hospital. Now, the young adult remains limited to the hospital bed and is completely covered in bandages after suffering second- and third-degree burns. Despite his serious condition, Byrd did not hesitate to give his statement to the outlet and expressed how important the lives of his dear nephews and niece are to him.
Wow you are a brave man.— Melissa Boyd, CHRL (@Melissa_Boyd12) July 9, 2019
With his face wrapped in gauze, he told 14 News, "Even though I got burnt, I really didn't care though. 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." Of course, after heroic actions of such proportions, the 20-year-old was hailed as a hero. But when asked about his heroic feat, he completely dismissed the term "hero" and simply revealed it is the love he has for those tiny tots that drove him to risk his life.
Love casts out all fear. Wonderful uncle.— 2u2 (@M2Chalet) July 9, 2019
"I can't say a hero. I'd just say I care for my niece and nephews. I wasn't going to let them die," he told the news channel. Byrd then claimed that even if he had to do it again, he definitely would without any hesitation. "I'd do it again. I really would. 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," he added.
How can you measure love...great hero— Sonny Anjangsono (@sonny_a_sokon) July 9, 2019
The Aberdeen Police Department's Lieutenant, CJ Chastain provided an insight into the whole incident while speaking to Komo News. "He forced entry back into the residence even though it was fully involved with flames at that time," said Chastain. "He went upstairs and was able to bring the eight-year-old, he forced entry into the upstairs and was able to bring her out of the residence and help her to survive it," he continued.
After hearing this account a reporter said, "That’s pretty heroic," and Chastain agreed, "Yes, it was." Right now Mercedes, Junior, and Byrd remain in the serious condition at the Harborview Medical Center according to reports. Johnson, who also suffered burns, has already been released after proper treatment. When the fire started, the children's grandfather Dave Nelson and his brother Brady Cardin were also present inside the house, thankfully they weren't harmed just like Rory.
Prayers & God Bless & heal this hero...— Judy Futchko (@mdsemtkg) July 9, 2019
The cause of the fire still remains unknown however, after going over some details the investigators found that the fire started on the second floor. The fire completely destroyed that region and took the family's clothes and belongings along with it. Helpful neighbors and friends have launched a food and clothing drive to acquire basic items that the family needs as per 14 News. Reports of the family receiving donations of clothes and toys via the Red Cross have also surfaced.