ABERDEEN, Wash. — A 20-year-old Aberdeen man was severely burned recently after running back into his burning home to rescue his niece.
Derrick Byrd was sleeping when he heard his sister scream early on the morning of July 4. As soon as he came out, his home was engulfed in flames.
“My sister opened her window and started dropping the kids out of the window,” Byrd said.
Byrd caught his two nephews out of a second-story window, but after his sister fell from the window, his 9-year-old niece wouldn't jump out.
He said he took action and rushed back inside.
"I just walked right through it (the fire), took off my shirt and put it around her face,” Byrd said. "I picked her up, grabbed her and just ran as fast as I could through the flames."
After Byrd got his niece out of the home, he waited for the ambulance to arrive.
"I walked right through them (flames), I felt my skin sizzling, I just didn't care. Honestly, the adrenaline took over," he said.
Byrd had burns on his arm, face and back.
He said he ran to his mother’s home in Hoquiam, which was about 10 blocks away, and asked her to take him to a hospital.
He was later taken to Harborview Medical Center.
"I am healing. I am grateful that I'm alive still,” Byrd said. "But I would do it again even if I did die. My nieces and nephews are my everything."
Byrd was released July 8 from Harborview Medical Center.
"I wouldn't consider myself a hero. I would consider myself someone who just cares about their family,” he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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