Four teenagers from Sapulpa, Oklahoma are being hailed as heroes after they rescued their 90-year-old neighbor from a burning building.
Catherine Ritchie, a 90-year-old resident of Sapulpa, returned to her bedroom on a recent night to find her bed on fire with flames that she described as “three foot tall.” After her attempts to extinguish the flames with blankets failed Ritchie attempted to flee but became disoriented by the heavy smoke and mistook her closet for the exit as she attempted to feel her way out of the house.
As she told KTUL:
“The smoke was so bad, I couldn’t see to get out of my room,” she said. “I felt along the wall, and I went into the closet instead of the door to get out of the room. I finally did get to the door.”
Luckily a group of four teenage boys ranging in age from 14 to 17 noticed the smell of the burning home and reacted swiftly to help their elderly neighbor.
The teens leapt into action like a well-drilled rescue squad: one broke the window, another kicked in the door, while a third ran to get an axe from a neighbor.
One 14-year-old boy, Nick Byrd, managed to kick in the back door and carry Ritchie to safety.
According to KTUL the boys were just hanging out in the bored manner of teenagers when the opportunity for heroism presented itself.
“We were just sitting around looking for something to do,” said 17-year-old Wyatt Hall.
Richie is the mother of ten children and grandmother to a whopping 42 grandchildren all of whom are very grateful how things turned out.
Richie’s daughter posted a touching letter of thanks to the heroic young men on her blog thanking them for their courage.
It reads, in part:
“Kids who are told about all the things they aren’t old enough to do saved the life of the most precious and beloved woman we know. Courageous young men. Young men who risked their own lives, their own safety, perhaps their good standing with their parents who might have chosen for them to do otherwise, and they carried my mother out of her burning home into the street, where fire trucks and ambulances would soon arrive.
Dylan Wick – 16 years old, Nick Byrd – 14 years old, Seth Byrd – 16 years old, and Wyatt Hall – 17 years old, thank you! Thank you for your selfless acts of heroism and courage. Thank you for not allowing this to be the tragic end to our mother’s amazing life. Thank you for staying with her, hugging her, and helping her feel less alone until we could get to her. Thank you for being the kind of young men who thought about another person above yourselves.”