Ninety-year-old Catherine Ritchie from Sapulpa, Oklahoma, had been living in the same house for 58 years. That changed when her bed caught fire several weeks ago.
“I was getting ready for bed in the bathroom, and I turned around, and my bed, the head of my bed, was covered in flames,” Ritchie said, as reported by KTUL.
According to a blog post written by Ritchie’s daughter, Missy Nicholas Ritchie, her mother pushed the emergency call button she wears on her necklace and called 911.
“The smoke was so bad, I couldn’t see to get out of my room,” Ritchie 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.”
That was when four young heroes intervened.
“We were just sitting around looking for something to do,” said 17-year-old Wyatt Hall.
“We were actually fixing to leave … We were fixing to go to QT to get something to drink,” said 16-year-old Seth Byrd.
When the boys, ages 14 to 17, left the house they were in, they became aware of the smell.
“It smelled kind of like burning rubber. Then, we heard the house alarm go off,” said 16-year-old Dylan Wick.
The boys acted quickly.
“One started breaking the glass on the front door,” Ritchie’s daughter wrote in her blog. “One called 911. One went to the back door and began kicking it in. One went to the neighbors for an ax and help.”
Nick Byrd, 14, was able to get through the back door and quickly went inside. He found Ritchie in the hall. She was lost in the smoke.
“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 just kind of heard her,” said Nick Byrd. “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 and took her to Seth.”
Ritchie made it out safe along with the boys, and firefighters quenched the flames.
“They were just special, as young as they were,” Ritchie said of the boys.
Missy Nicholas Ritchie’s blog post was titled “An Open Letter of Thanks.”
“Thank you for your selfless acts of heroism and courage,” she wrote to the boys. “Thank you for not allowing this to be the tragic end to our mother’s amazing life.”
Catherine Ritchie has 42 grandchildren.
“Thank you for more than we know how to thank you for!” Missy Nicholas Ritchie wrote to the heroes. “We will forever be indebted to the time you bought for us and the example you set for us. God Bless each of you for being such a blessing to us.”
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