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

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KTUL KTUL
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL/CNN) -

Four Oklahoma teens risked their lives to save a 90-year-old woman trapped inside a burning house.

Catherine Ritchie, of Tulsa, said she was getting ready for bed earlier this month when a fire broke out inside her home of 58 years. 

"I turned around, and my bed, the head of my bed, was covered in flames," Ritchie told KTUL.

Four teen boys, ages 14 to 17, were outside at the time and noticed a strange smell.

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

At one point, Ritchie tried to put out the fire herself but eventually gave up and called 911 for help. 

"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 she tried to feel her way out, the boys jumped into action, trying to break down doors to get inside.

Nick Byrd, 14, managed to get through the back door and ran inside, finding Ritchie trapped in a hallway filled with smoke.

"He picked me up, and I said, 'I can walk,' and he said, 'We're getting out of here,'" she recalled.

Ritchie and the boys made it out safe. Firefighters stopped the flames from spreading.

It was a life-changing experience for the brave group of teens.

"Ever since that night, my life has just changed ... for the better," said 17-year-old Wyatt Hall.

It's unclear what started the fire.

Meanwhile, Ritchie said she can't thank the boys enough. 

"They were just special, as young as they were," she said.

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