October 20, 2021

Hero Boy Saves 6 Relatives from a Fire, Dies While Trying to Save His Disabled Uncle Too

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As much as we may define ourselves as good people, a tiny minority of us would, in reality, run straight into blazing red hot flames in the name of love. However, Tyler Doohan was different. 

One lionhearted boy displayed compassion on a grand scale, the kind only seen in films and superhero stories. 9-year-old Tyler Doohan has left a legacy that few grown men and women would even dare to dream of. 

Doohan was said to have moved a lot, spending his short life from house to house and different schools. Those who knew the young boy said he was full of energy and enjoyed sports. 

Tyler Doohan. | Source:


With the permission of his mother Vrooman and on Martin Luther King Jr Day in 2014, the 9-year-old chose to stay at his 57-year-old grandfather Louis Beach's mobile home for a day.

Beach lived alongside 7 other relatives, including Doohan's disabled uncle, 57-year-old Steve Smith. Smith was in a wheelchair and was missing a leg.

While Doohan was staying there, a deadly fire started, which according to Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer, began at 4:45 am. The fourth-grader, realizing what was happening, managed to save six of the relatives, including kids from ages four to six. 



Unfortunately, not everyone survived the flames, including Smith, Beach, and Doohan himself. Firefighters are under the impression that the young boy passed away trying to save his uncle from the blaze. Joseph Breyette, Doohan's other uncle, emphasized how brave his nephew was, expressing

"‘I mean to run back in there and go through what he went through to try to save his uncle, what can you say for the kid?"

Firefighters came across the fourth-grader's body in the back bedroom of a trailer, close to his uncle Smith. At the time, Doohan's grieving mom Vrooman said that she couldn't stop going over the thought that he struggled to breathe. 



Theresa Fiorica, a companion of Vrooman, set up a fundraiser to raise money for the deceased boy's funeral. However, after it pulled in $55,000, some raised concerns, such as Doohan's father and Vrooman's ex-husband Jason Doohan, who stated:

“My actual fear is that she is not going to use the money properly.”

Breyette echoed these concerns, citing fear of her past substance abuse issues interfering with her spending the money with integrity. Sadly, the life and legacy of such a brave young man are being overshadowed by a family quarrel. Yet, his heroism will still not be forgotten. 

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