New York boy who died rescuing relatives gets firefighter funeral

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(CNN) — Tyler Doohan, the 8-year-old upstate New York boy who rescued six relatives from a fire but died while trying to save his grandfather, will be laid to rest Wednesday with a ceremony and honor befitting a fallen firefighter, according to local fire officials.

Penfield Fire Company has kept an honor guard standing by the remains of the boy during calling hours since Monday, and at the end of a church service on Wednesday, Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer will declare Tyler an honorary firefighter and present his family with a special fire helmet inscribed with the boy’s name.

“The young man acted with a lot of courage and bravery to try to rescue his grandfather after rescuing other members of his family,” Ebmeyer said. “He showed valor and strength, and paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Ebmeyer said he received calls from fire departments from Maine to California, saying something should be done to honor Tyler.

At the service, firefighters from multiple fire departments will stand at attention in formal “Class A” dress uniforms with bagpipers playing — the hallmarks of a traditional firefighter’s funeral, Ebmeyer said. There will be no funeral procession at the family’s request.

“We want to honor him in a way family and friends will remember and look at him as a hero,” Ebmeyer said. “He should be looked at as going above and beyond, even putting his life in danger… This is what firefighters do.”

Tyler, an East Rochester resident, was staying at the home of relatives in Penfield on January 19 when he noticed a fire in the single-wide trailer, officials said.

As firefighters and sheriff’s deputies responded to a 4:45 a.m. emergency call, Tyler was able to wake six other people in the small trailer, including two more children, ages 4 and 6, the fire officials said.

Then Tyler went back into the blaze to help his grandfather, who was disabled and would have been unable to get out of the home on his own. “By that time, the fire had traveled to the back of the trailer,” Ebmeyer said at the time. “Unfortunately, they both succumbed to heat and smoke.”

The pair were found together on a bed in the back room. It appeared that the boy was trying to lift his grandfather from the bed when he was overcome by the smoke and fire, fire officials said.

The funeral Mass will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. John of Rochester Catholic Church in Fairport.

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26 comments

  • lori

    he was heaven sent, put on the earth to save the lives of others. his gift for this was to get a place to sit right by the Lords side. he held up his end of the deal with every bit of grace and dignity that the good Lord gave him. now he waits for his family in the presence of the Lord. look at the lives he touched in such a short time. we wer blessed to have heard his story, his family was blessed to have had him there, and he was blessed with his place in heaven. thank the Lord for all of that.

  • Jay

    I commend the firefighters who want to honor this heroic young boy. Wind to thy wings little angel and may God send his blessing to the friends and family he left behind as they deal with this loss.

  • storybookblue

    Such a courageous little boy, my thoughts are with his family. I’m so disappointed that people want to belittle the praise given to him because someone wants to mention their god. Why do people have to take someone’s praise and choose to pick a fight over it. Just because someone chooses to believe in the idea of destiny and give praise attributing to that belief does NOT belittle that praise or what this little boy gave up. Maybe his own family finds comfort in the idea of the same God or others praying for them. But you can only think that your own sensibilities have been offended. How selfish. Why am I, as a bisexual pagan woman, being well aware of the Christian opinion of my kind, seemingly one of very few people that understand the true concept of tolerance. This is not a forum to debate your opinion on the existence of the christian god. And all those who do so are truly dirtying this story and taking NOTHING away from the boys example of love.

    • lori

      well said storybookblue. it is sad, my statement was never meant to start a debate. it was only meant to show how i felt about the boy, and the God i believe brought him to all of us. my heart bleeds for the parents as i have lost a son too. how proud they must be of the boy they will dearly miss.

    • steven n.

      ah but it is you that discrace the memory of a hero by bringing “god” into it you believe in part to soften your own fellings of your child I respect that flawed as it is keep in mind any god that allows man to treat children as some do is not great this is viewed as evil by man in of the laws of man would be imprisoned for life or put to death, not having known this little man ill remember him forever as I look into the face of my own 8 year old boy. a shame to have lost such a man with a backbone he would have made a great leader, quality we are missing as of late.

      • storybookblue

        I’m a little confused. I did not bring god into it. Others did and suddenly the focus was taken off the boy and put on religious debate. I’m not a Christian. Any point beyond that I can’t address because your writing was difficult to follow. Regardless I’m making the point that religious differences don’t matter. Not in most cases and certainly not in this one. What good does your opinion of someone else’s beliefs do for this boy or his grieving family? Or how does it commemorate his sacrifice?

  • NB

    As Firefighters we know the hell this young man went back into. He did it to save the life of another. It is only fitting that we recognize him as one of our own. And as such we must show him all the respect we would show a fallen brother
    5-5-5-5
    Rest easy young brother, we will take up

  • Ruth Frasier

    My husband is a fire chief. He has been a firefighter for over 40 years. His men couldn’t have done any better. Some not as good. He had the spirit of a true hero.

  • Mary Ann

    Tyler you are the most precious angel.No one could have been a braver person than you. Both of my sons are firefighters and I am proud of them everyday, I can only imagine how all your family and firefighters feel about you.You deserve every wonderful thought and feeling we all have for you.Dear Lord please help his family get through this and RIP Precious Tyler.

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