Society

Eight-Year-Old Boy Dies Saving Six People From Fire

| by Dominic Kelly

A fire that broke out Monday morning at a trailer home in Penfield, New York killed three, including an eight-year-old boy that many are calling a hero.

Firefighters say the blaze started around 4:45 a.m., likely due to an electrical issue in the trailer, and Tyler J. Doohan, a bright eight-year-old, was staying there with his grandparents at the time.

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According to reports, Doohan was able to wake up six other family members staying in the trailer home and was attempting to save a seventh one when he got caught in the flames.

"The roof had collapsed on the front half of the trailer and one of the individuals was found there, probably on a couch, but there was nothing left to even see if it was furniture," said Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer. "In the rear, there was a bedroom and the other deceased male was found in a bed. The child was a few feet way."

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In addition to eight-year-old Doohan, two other people were killed, including his grandfather Louis J. Beach, 57, and Steven D. Smith, 54.

Reports claim that the trailer in which Doohan’s grandparents lived was deemed unlivable prior to the fire, so many are wondering why there were nine people staying there at the time. Doohan didn’t live there, but he was visiting at the time of the fire.

"There was too many people, where would you put all those people?" said neighbor Michelle Brosseau, who says she contemplated, at one point, reporting the number of occupants to county officials. “Now, maybe, I wish I had called,” said Brosseau.

A statement from officials at the school that Doohan attended expressed both sadness for his death as well as admiration for his heroic efforts to help save six others from the fire.

"With great sadness, the East Rochester School District confirms one of the three victims of an early-morning fire in Penfield was a fourth-grade boy at our school," said interim Superintendent Richard Stutzman Jr. in the school’s statement. "It is extremely important to remember that according to emergency personnel, (Tyler) was the person who discovered the fire and tried to wake the eight other people in the residence at the time. In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others — and he is truly a hero."

Investigators are still looking into the circumstances surrounding the deadly blaze.