Derrick Byrd, a twenty-year-old college student, does not consider himself a hero, yet leaping into flames—not once, but twice—was his instinctive reaction to a horrific scenario.
The early morning hours of July 4th brought Derrick to the realization that their Aberdeen, Washington home was on fire after hearing a loud boom and his sister screaming. He immediately sprung into action and extinguished the flames.
Down the process, he smashed in the door to his sister’s room and raced downstairs through the flames to capture the children as his sister assisted them in jumping from the second floor window.
According to Derrick, “Kayla begged me to get the kids out, so I went downstairs despite the fact that I had been burnt.”
Despite the fact that it was still dark outside, Derrick was able to safely catch Junior, 6, and Rory, 3, before Kayla herself fell off the roof. The third kid, Mercedes, who was eight years old at the time, tumbled back into the room and shouted Derrick’s name as the home burned down around her.
Derrick didn’t pause to consider his own discomfort as he raced back into the blazing building and up the stairwell to save Mercedes.
When Derrick was in the hospital, he described the sensation as “burning me.” In order to prevent smoke from getting into her lungs, I removed my shirt and wrapped it over her face. Then I carried her out of the building at the fastest speed possible.
After making sure his sister and her children were okay, Derrick went to a neighbor’s home and knocked on the door to notify them of the fire. Then, propelled by adrenaline, he sprinted ten blocks to his mother’s house in order to seek a ride to the hospital where his sister was being treated. Everyone in the house had escaped the fire by the time firefighting services got on the scene, owing to Derrick and Kayla’s fast and decisive actions, which saved their lives.
Derrick had second- and third-degree burns on his face, back, and arms as a result of his heroic rescue efforts. With bandages covering his wounds, the adolescent said that he would “do it all over again.”
And Derrick Byrd might not agree, but those words are the hallmark of a hero.
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