A Washington uncle ran into a burning building to save his 8-year-old niece from the fire. He said he would risk his life all over again just to save the girl.

As KOMO reports, 20-year-old Derrick Byrd was left with second and third-degree burns on his body after he ran inside a three-story home to rescue the little girl from the flames.


The child’s mother and her kids were upstairs when the fire erupted around 4 a.m., WFLA reports.

Seven family members, including Byrd, were inside the home, according to FOX4KC. He was helping his sister and her kids get out the second-floor window when 8-year-old Mercedes refused to jump after she saw her mom Kayla Johnson fall from the roof.

Instead, the girl retreated back into the burning room. A witness, Brady Cardin, told WFLA:

“I went up right after cause they were like, “Where’s Mercedes? Everybody out? I was the last one out and, ‘oh Mercedes, where is she?’”

Mercedes’ uncle, Bryd, recalled to KOMO:

“She was screaming my name. So I wasn’t just going to let her sit there. I wasn’t going to let my niece die.”


He continued:

“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.”

Byrd was able to carry Mercedes to safety. However, he suffered horrific burns on his face, back, and arms.


Byrd said:

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

He added:

“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.”

The fire department continues to investigate the incident. The fire completely gutted the home, but the cause remains unclear at this time.

Watch the video below:

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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