(Meredith) -- A young man from Washington state is being hailed as a hero after rushing into a burning home to rescue his 8-year-old niece. 

Derrick Byrd, 20, suffered severe burns to his face, arms and back. He said he would run through the flames again to save the life of a loved one, even if it meant sacrificing his own. 

"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 said in an interview with KOMO News

The fire broke out Thursday morning at his home in Aberdeen. His niece, Mercedes, and his two nephews, Junior and Rory, were trapped in a room on the second floor. 

Destroyed home in Aberdeen, WA

Derrick Byrd's home is a total loss after a Thursday morning fire in Aberdeen, Wa. 

Byrd said he and his sister, Kayla, caught the boys after they jumped out of a window to escape the flames -- but Mercedes was afraid to take that leap.

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

"I just ran up the stairs and pushed through the fire,” he continued. “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 is receiving treatment for his burns at Harborview Medical Center, according to KOMO News. His nieces and nephews are recovering at the same hospital. 

"Even though I got burnt, I really didn't care," he said. "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."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it appears to have started on the second floor. 

Copyright 2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(8) comments


Well done!


Awesome story! Hope he recovers fast. What a blessing for that family and role model for those kids.


Good luck paying for your own beer for a long, long time man. You probably won't be able to pull your wallet out at a bar until you're drawing social security. You're an inspiration!


Good job... I hope your recovery is fast.... People like you especially at your age is rare!!! You deserve a medal and everything good in your future!!!


Godspeed...you are some kind of Uncle.


Now that is what I call a hero!!! Wishing him a speedy recovery!


This is news.... No question. It is news (much better than the non stories about politicians supposedly representing our country). Kudos to the young man. I wish him well.

JF Conlon

One of the good guys in the news, no question. Be well soon.

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