In Aberdeen, Washington, a young man is currently recovering from severe second- and third-degree burns on his face, neck, back, and arms—but despite the immense pain he’s in, he’s insisted that he would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Twenty-year-old Derrick Byrd was at a residence in the small Washington town with his sister, her three children, and two others when the house caught fire.
From the start, the young uncle did everything in his power to make sure that his niece and two nephews were able to escape the burning building. After rushing outside, Byrd was able to catch both of his nephews, Junior and Royce, as they escaped by jumping out of a window.
19-A16393 DUFFY STREET STRUCTURE FIREThree people were transferred to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle this…
It was when the third child, his 8-year-old niece Mercedes, went to escape that disaster struck.
Mercedes had seen her mother, Kayla, fall from the roof and was too scared to make the jump herself. She fell away from the window and refused to make the jump, leaving Byrd terrified that she wasn’t going to get out of the home.
“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.
Understanding that the young girl faced imminent peril if she didn’t get out of the house immediately, Byrd didn’t even stop to worry about himself. He dashed back through the front door, running back through the rooms to grab Mercedes and get her out safely.
Recounting the harrowing ordeal while in the hospital after the fact, Byrd explained that he could feel the flames burning him as he ran through the house. But his primary goal wasn’t his own safety—it was that of his niece, whom he gave his shirt to wrap around her face to avoid smoke inhalation as he carried her out.
This is my Son Derrick Byrd, When I spoke with him he said "Dad I had to go into the flames to get them out." He will be…
“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,” he said.
He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle along with Mercedes and 6-year-old Junior, where he was immediately treated for the severe burns he suffered. But despite the immense pain, there was no question in his mind that he would make the rescue all over again if given a redo.
“I’d do it again. I really would. I don’t care. I really would,” he said. “I’d run back in there and do it again even if I got burnt worse or died.”
— KOMO News (@komonews) July 6, 2019
Third-degree burns are incredibly severe, damaging all layers of the skin. While Byrd has been released from the hospital, he still has to return to get bandages changed and will be healing for a long time to come.
For now, though, the family is in the process of finding a new place to live. They’ve set up a GoFundMe to replace items lost in the fire and medical costs, and are hoping to see their lives return to normal soon. For Byrd, though, the attention likely isn’t going away any time soon—all thanks to his heroic rescue.