8-year-old Tyler Doohan, who died trying to save family from fire, gets a firefighter's funeral

3:18 PM, Jan 29, 2014   |    comments
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Tyler Doohan died as he tried to rescue his disabled uncle.

 

FAIRPORT, N.Y. (CBS NEWS) -- Scores of firefighters were among the mourners attending the funeral service for an 8-year-old boy credited with saving six relatives from a fire at the family's Rochester-area mobile home.

Wednesday morning's service for Tyler Doohan was held at a church in the village of Fairport, near where he, his grandfather and step-great-grandfather died when the trailer they were in caught fire early on the morning of Jan. 20. Fire officials say Tyler awoke six other relatives  - four adults and children ages 4 and 6 - sleeping in the trailer but was killed when he tried to help his disabled grandfather.

The funerals of the other two victims, 54-year-old Stephen Smith and 63-year-old Lewis Beach, were held at the same time as Tyler's. Beach used a wheelchair and crutches after having a leg amputated because of health problems, the fire chief said.

Fire officials said more than 100 firefighters will attend the service as a tribute to Tyler's heroics.

"I think we need to keep in mind the honor that Tyler had in that moment when he was faced with the greatest danger," neighbor Rosanne Fabi told CBS affiliate WROC in Rochester. "We need to reach in our hearts and be our best selves through this."

Reports indicate that after Tyler ushered most of his family out of the trailer, he turned around and ran back in when he realized two were missing.

"He saved six people. They all would have died if he hadn't woken up," said Chris Ebmeyer, chief of the volunteer fire company in Penfield, a suburban town of 36,000 residents.

The fire chief said nine people were staying at the 14-foot-by-60-foot trailer when the fire started around 4:45 a.m. Monday. Tyler, spending the night at his grandfather's place because school was off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was awoken when the blanket covering his sleeping 4-year-old cousin caught fire, Ebmeyer said.

Tyler woke up six of his relatives, and they all made it outside. He then ran back to the room where his grandfather, Lewis Beach, was sleeping.

Firefighters found Tyler's body a few feet from Beach's, Ebmeyer said. The body of Tyler's 54-year-old uncle, Steven Smith, was found in another part of the trailer, which didn't appear to have a working smoke detector, he said.

A Monroe County sheriff's deputy and a firefighter arrived at the scene within a minute of the dispatch call, but the trailer was already engulfed in flames and smoke, Ebmeyer said. The first fire crew to arrive tried to enter the trailer but was driven back, he said.

The cause of the blaze appears to have been electrical in origin, but the inquiry was continuing as investigators interviewed the injured relatives, Ebmeyer said.

An online fundraising campaign set up on YouCaring.com has raised more than $30,000 for Tyler's funeral.

All six survivors of the fire, including Tyler's 65-year-old grandmother, suffered minor injuries, officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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