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