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Tyler Doohan: Trailer fire claims life of boy trying to save uncle, a true hero

Photo of Tyler Doohan, Facebook
Photo of Tyler Doohan, Facebook
Facebook Photo File, Rochester Homepage

Tyler Doohan is rightfully being called a true hero this week after tragic news of the 8-year-old boy perishing in a trailer fire reached the rest of the nation. While trying to save his uncle from a sweeping blaze in their Penfield, New York home, the fire was said to have claimed Doohan’s life. The fatal incident is confirmed to have taken place on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day weekend while the young child was home from school and visiting his relatives, The Star Press reveals this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

While Tyler Doohan may not have had school this week, his devastated family is wishing that he had. The sad story begins with Doohan allegedly asking his mother to visit his grandfather’s trailer to celebrate the holiday off. Hours later, firefighters were sifting through the burnt trailer and discovered Tyler’s remains in a small bedroom in the back of the wide trailer, only several feet away from the bed of his Uncle Steve, a disabled man. Early investigators believe that Tyler was attempting to rescue his relative in a heroic save.

An electrical issue is thought to have sparked the massive blaze that claimed the life of the boy.

“Firefighters say Tyler, an 8-year-old who seemingly spent much of his young life in different homes and school districts, was killed along with his grandfather, Louis J. Beach, 57, and Steven D. Smith, 54, in a fire that appears to have been caused from an electrical problem at the front of the trailer. And as Penfield firefighters — working their third trailer fire in a little more than a year — sorted through the rubble of melted toys and furniture charred beyond recognition, neighbors discussed the number of people who had taken up residence in a metal home that they say had been deemed unlivable more than once.”

An official on the scene also noted that the 8-year-old boy’s close location to his uncle’s bed likely pointed to the fact that he had returned into the fire in an attempt to save his loved one from the flames.

"The roof had collapsed on the front half of the trailer and one of the individuals was found there, probably on a couch, but there was nothing left to even see if it was furniture," Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer said. "In the rear, there was a bedroom and the other deceased male was found in a bed. The child was a few feet way."

Firefighters are still determining whether the trailer had a functional smoke detector or properly working fire alarm. Tyler Doohan was a fourth grade student in the East Rochester Central School District. School officials called the young boy nothing less than a true “hero.”

"With great sadness, the East Rochester School District confirms one of the three victims of an early-morning fire in Penfield was a fourth-grade boy at our school," reads a news release from interim Superintendent Richard Stutzman Jr. "It is extremely important to remember that according to emergency personnel, (Tyler) was the person who discovered the fire and tried to wake the eight other people in the residence at the time. In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others — and he is truly a hero."

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