8-year-old boy Tyler J. Doohan was killed in a mobile-home fire in upstate New York Monday morning while attempting to rescue a disabled relative inside, according to authorities.
Tyler J. Doohan, of East Rochester, was staying at the home of relatives in the nearby town of Penfield on Sunday night when he noticed a fire in their single-wide trailer, said Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer.
Tyler was able to wake six other people in the small trailer, including two more children, ages 4 and 6, Ebmeyer said as firefighters and sheriff's deputies responded to an emergency call around 4:45 a.m.,
Little Tyler went back into the blazing trailer to help his grandfather, who was disabled and would have been unable to get out of the home on his own, Ebmeyer said.
"By that time, the fire had traveled to the back of the trailer," Ebmeyer said. "Unfortunately they both succumbed to heat and smoke."
Their bodies were found together in a back bedroom. Tyler's uncle also died in the fire, his body was found in a front room, Ebmeyer said.
Earlier, fire officials had released a mistaken version of the incident, where the grandfather and uncle's locations were switched, due to incorrect information provided by a family member.
"It makes me really proud, it really does, but I just want him back," Tyler's mother, Crystal Vrooman said.
Little Tyler broke away from his aunt outside the burning trailer and ran back inside to try to save his grandfather, she said.
"All I could think about is how he couldn't breathe," she said.
The pair were found together on a bed in the back room. The boy appeared to be lifting his grandfather from the bed when he was overcome by the smoke and fire, the fire chief said.
Tyler and his grandfather were like best friends, Vrooman said.
"I'm just so grateful that he went with people that he loved," she said. "He didn't go alone."
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental and still under investigation.
The conditions of the six survivors were not immediately available.
Ebmeyer said the trailer had no working smoke detector. He lamented that with so many people in one small mobile home, one alarm could have easily woken everyone in time to escape.
There was at least one space heater inside the trailer, the fire chief said.
Several pets -- including dogs, cats, a rabbit and hamsters -- also died in the fire, Ebmeyer said.
The Penfield Fire Company -- a volunteer unit -- intends to create a public service initiative to spread awareness and get smoke detectors out to the public, he said.
Meanwhile, Richard Stutzman Jr., interim superintendent of the East Rochester School District, where Tyler attended fourth grade, issued a statement:
"In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others -- and he truly is a hero."