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NY boy who died rescuing relatives gets firefighter funeral

Posted at 2:41 PM, Jan 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-28 14:41:46-05

(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.

The Penfield Fire Co. 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, New York.