ABERDEEN, Washington (CNN) – A young man is fighting the pain of severe burns after having rushed back into a burning home to save his niece.
Gaze now covers Derrick Byrd's face, arms and back. When the fire broke out Thursday morning in their Aberdeen, Washington, home, he ran into action.
"Even though I was burned, I really did not break," he told KOMO TV. "I'd rather be burned than her. She's young. She still has many things for her. She's a good kid."
The 8-year-old girl, Mercedes, was scared to jump and when her mother fell off the roof, she fell back into a burning room.
"She screamed my name," said Derrick Byrd. "So I wouldn't let her sit there, I wouldn't let my niece die. And I ran straight up the stairs and pushed through the fire. I could feel it burning me "I got her and took off my shirt and put it around her face so she couldn't breathe any smoke and I carried myself as quickly as possible."
Mercedes, Derrick, and another 6-year-old fled to a local hospital.
Derrick is hailed as a hero.
"I can't say (I am) a hero," he said. "I just want to tell my niece and nephews that I wouldn't let them die."
The house seems to be a total loss. Firefighters and police say they are grateful, no one died.