ABERDEEN, Wash. – A young man is fighting the pain of serious burns after rushing back into a burning house to save his niece, but he says he’d do it all again.
"Even though I got burnt, I really didn't care though. I'd rather get burnt than her,” said Derrick Byrd. “She's young. She's still got a lot of stuff going for her. She's a good kid"
With gauze covering his face, arms and back, Byrd wants others to know how special his niece, Mercedes, and nephews, Junior and Rory, are. And that’s why when a fire broke out Thursday morning at their Aberdeen, Washington home, he jumped into action to help the children’s mother, Kayla, his sister.
"Kayla wanted to get the kids out so I ran downstairs even though I got burnt, started catching the kids,” said Byrd. “I caught Junior and I caught Baby Rory out of Kayla's window."
However, 8-year-old Mercedes was afraid to jump and when her mom fell off the roof, the little girl fell back into the burning room.
"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,” said Byrd. “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."
Mercedes and 6-year-old Junior were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, as was Byrd, who’s being hailed as a hero.
"I can't say a hero,” said Byrd. “I'd just say for my niece and nephews I wasn't going to let them die."
The house appears to be a total loss with fire fighters and police just thankful nobody died, all thanks to the quick action of a loving uncle.
"I'd do it again. I really would. I don't care. I really would,” said Byrd. “I'd run back in there and do it again even if I got burnt worse or died."