Tyler Doohan, 8, died in a fire at his grandfather’s home after trying to save his disabled Uncle Steve.
Doohan’s grandfather Louis Beach, 57, also died.
Doohan’s body was found just feet away from the bed of the uncle, reported the Democrat and Chronicle.
The young boy had asked his mother if it was okay to stay with his grandfather on Sunday night because of the federal holiday on Monday.
Cpl. John Helfer of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said nine people were in the single-wide trailer in the town of Penfield when the fire started around 4:45 a.m. Monday, reported AP.
Officials say that there were too many people inside the home, and more people could have died if Doohan hadn’t discovered the fire and roused six people who got out safely.
Helfer said four adults and two children, ages 4 and 6, were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
People who knew Doohan are not surprised by his act of heroism.
“He was the kind of young man who would bend over backwards for anybody,” Richard Stuntzman Jr., interim superintendent at East Rochester Elementary School, where Tyler was in fourth grade, told WHEC. He was a very caring individual always came to school with a smile on his face. Always asking what can I do to help.”
The entire school district is stunned at the news of the death, Stuntzman added.
“Learning the reason why Tyler passed this morning they were not surprised,” he said.
Joseph Breyette, an uncle, added: “The kid’s got more guts than I know of, I mean to run back in there and go through what he went through to try to save his uncle, I mean, what can you say for the kid? He’s a great kid.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.