4 teenaged boys rescue 90-year-old grandmother from burning house
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, June 8, 2019 1:13PM EDT
A 90-year-old grandmother says she’s “forever grateful” to the four teenaged boys who came to her rescue when her Oklahoma home caught fire.
Catherine Ritchie said she was getting ready for bed three weeks ago in the home she’s lived in for 58 years in Sapulpa, Okla. when the fire started.
“I was getting ready for bed in the bathroom and I turned around and the head of my bed was covered with flames,” she told local television station KTUL on Wednesday.
Ritchie said she attempted to put the fire out herself, but she eventually gave up and called 911 and pressed her emergency call button. As she was trying to make her way out of the bedroom, the grandmother said she became disoriented by the heavy smoke.
“At that time, the smoke was so bad I couldn't see to get out of my room,” she recalled. “I felt along the wall and I went into the closet instead of the door to get out of the room. But anyway, I finally did get to the door.”
As Ritchie struggled to find her way out of the bedroom, four teenaged boys who live in the neighbourhood smelled the smoke from the nearby fire as they were sitting around outside “looking for something to do.”
“It smelled kind of like burning rubber. Then we heard the house alarm go off,” 16-year-old Dylan Wick said.
The boys leapt into action and ran towards the house, trying to break down the doors to get inside.
Nick Byrd, 14, managed to enter the home through the back door and found Ritchie lost in the smoky hallway.
“This young boy was right there,” she said. “He picked me up and I said ‘I can walk’ and he said ‘We’re getting out of here.’”
“I went to the right of the house and no one was there, I went to the left of the house and I saw her in the hallway, so I just grabbed her,” Byrd added.
Ritchie and the four boys were able to safely escape the house before firefighters arrived to put out the flames.
Three weeks after the fire, the teenagers returned to Ritchie’s house to survey the damage and reflect on their role in the incident.
“Ever since that night, my life has just changed for the better,” Wyatt Hall, 17, said.
While it’s still unclear what caused the fire, Ritchie said she’s grateful to the teenagers who helped her.
“They were just special, as young as they were,” she said after hugging each of them outside her damaged home.
With files from KTUL