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8-year-old hero who saved six declared honorary firefighter at funeral

Tyler Doohan was credited with saving the lives of six of his family members when their mobile home went up in flames last week.

The 8-year-old New York state boy who died while saving the lives of six people in a roaring trailer fire was laid to rest Wednesday — complete with his own fireman's helmet and the title of honorary firefighter.

Mourners from across the country flocked to Fairport, near Rochester, to honor Tyler Doohan, a fourth-grader at East Rochester Elementary School.


Tyler raced through his grandfather's trailer home in suburban Penfield early on the morning of Jan. 20, alerting friends and family to a raging fire.

He was crediting with saving the lives of six people — including two other kids, ages 4 and 6.

But then he went back in to the inferno to try to rescue his grandfather, who used a wheelchair because he'd lost part of a leg. They never made it out. They were buried Wednesday with a third victim, his step-great-grandfather.

"Compassion has no end, and community has no boundaries," said Phil Buderic, basketball coach at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, who traveled with his team all the way from Manitowoc, Wis., to serve as pallbearers at Tyler's funeral after being touched by the story.

Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer declared Tyler an honorary firefighter, presenting a personal fire helmet during the service at St. John of Rochester Catholic Church, NBC station WHEC of Rochester reported.

"Tyler needed to be honored in a way that would reflect what he did that morning," Ebmeyer said, marveling at the "courage (and) heroism he displayed for such a young individual, at 8 years of age."


"Tyler proved there is good in everybody,” the chief said.

Fire companies cross the country also added Tyler's name to their duty rosters in tribute Wednesday, the photos scrolling for page after page on the Facebook account of Firefighters Worldwide, an international firefighters community based in Mechanicsville, Va.

But Denise Alfieri, Tyler's fourth-grade teacher, said she would remember him as "the quiet boy who sat in the front row” and loved math and drawing.

"Tyler, I will miss you every day," Alfieri said. "To be honest, I still look for you to walk through those doors, just to see you smile one more time."

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