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Hero saves his 8 year old niece in house fire; 'I'd rather get burnt than her'

He's recovering from second- and third-degree burns after risking his life.

July 9, 2019

(KNOU) - A Washington man is recovering from second- and third-degree burns after he risked his life to save his 8-year-old niece.

Although Aberdeen resident Derrick Byrd is bandaged from head to toe and in extreme pain, the 20-year-old says he has no regrets over rushing into his sister's burning home last week to retrieve her young daughter. "Even though I got burnt, I really didn't care," Byrd says. "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."

In the harrowing incident, Byrd's sister and her children were trapped on the home's second story roof. Byrd caught the children as they jumped, but when his sister fell from the roof, 8-year-old Mercedes fell back inside the burning home. "I just ran up the stairs and pushed through the fire," Byrd says. "I could feel it burning me. I got her and took my shirt off and put it around her face so she wouldn't breathe in any smoke and I just carried her out as fast as I could."

Fire investigators haven't determined the cause of the fire but they believe that it started on the second floor, and estimate that there was $268,000 worth of damage to the structure and its contents.

Neighbors have started a food, clothing and toy drive for the family.

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