4 teens rush into burning home to rescue their 90-year-old neighbor

Posted: Updated:
KTUL KTUL
TULSA, Okla. (KAKE) -

For 58 years, Oklahoma resident Catherine Ritchie has lived in the same home in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa. That all changed three weeks ago. 

She said she was in the bathroom getting ready for bed when she turned around and saw the head of her bed was on fire, KTUL reports. That's where her heroes came in. 

Four boys between the ages of 14 and 17 in a nearby home went outside to leave for a convenience store, and then they noticed the smell. 

"It smelled kind of like burning rubber," 16-year-old Dylan Wick told the Tulsa ABC station. "Then we heard the house alarm go off."

Catherine was still inside trying to put the fire. But she quickly gave up, called 911 and hit her emergency call button. Then came another problem. 

"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."

While trying to feel her way out of the house, the boys jumped into action and tried to break down doors to get inside.

One of the boys, 14-year-old Nick Byrd managed to get through the back door and ran inside, finding Catherine in the hallway, lost in the smoke.

"This young boy was right there. He picked me up, and I said, 'I can walk,' and he said, 'We're getting out of here,'" Catherine said.

"I just kind of heard her. I went to the right of the house and no one was there," Byrd said. "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."

Catherine and her heroes made it out safely, and firefighters stopped the flames before they spread.

The boys went back to the home on Wednesday to see the damage and reflect on what happened weeks earlier. 

"Ever since that night, my life has just changed...for the better," said 17-year-old Wyatt Hall as he looked at the burned mattress.

Catherine says she is grateful.

"That's what I have to think. They were just special, as young as they were."

One of Catherine's daughters wrote a blog post thanking the four boys. Read it here.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE