Heroic 20-Year-Old Rushes Back into Blazing Home To Save Life of 8-Year-Old Niece

Combined Shape

A young family from Aberdeen, Washington, is recovering from burn injuries after a terrifying fire destroyed their home on the morning of July 4.

According to KOMO, three young children were on the second story of the home while their mother, Kayla Johnson, tried frantically to get her children outside safely.

Johnson’s brother, Derrick Byrd, 20, suffered severe burns across his face, back, and neck after heroically rescuing his two young nephews and 8-year-old niece from the fire.

Byrd told KOMO that as the flames ripped through his sister Kayla’s house, he stood on the ground to catch his 6-year-old nephew, Junior, and 3-year-old nephew, Rory.

But 8-year-old Mercedes was too afraid to jump out the window and into her uncle’s arms.

Fred Weinberg: Getting Rid of Liz Cheney Is the Start to Taking Back Our Government

“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,” Byrd said.

So Byrd ran back inside, fighting through an inferno of flames that threatened to take his life.

“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 breathe in any smoke and I just carried her out as fast as I could.”

Byrd and the children were taken to a hospital, and according to a GoFundMe campaign set up on the family’s behalf, the entire family is in shock. Mercedes, as well as Byrd, are still hospitalized.

“Kayla’s daughter Mercedes suffered the worst of injuries as she inhaled very poisonous smoke from plastic burning in the upstairs play room area,” campaign organizer Chelsea Curtis wrote.

“She is incubated and now medically induced into a temporary coma while staff works to determine what is causing her abnormal breathing as well as the severity of the poison in her lungs.”

11-Year-Old Girl Loses Her Life Attempting to Save 2 Puppies Caught in House Fire

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Curtis for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

Despite his painful injuries, Byrd insists he is not a hero, but rather just an uncle who had to save his family.

“Even though I got burnt, I really didn’t care though. I’d rather get burnt than her,” Byrd said.

As he recovers in the intensive care unit of a Seattle hospital, Byrd says he would save his niece all over again.

“I’d do it again. I really would. I don’t care. I really would,” Byrd insisted. “I’d run back in there and do it again even if I got burnt worse or died.”

Aberdeen officials have yet to release information as to what caused the house fire.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Lifestyle & Human Interest