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8-Year-Old Hero Who Tried To Save Brother From Fire Also Dies From Injuries

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Sean McCullough, Decerio Coley, children in Bruce Street fatal fire
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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A heartbreaking update on a story of an 8-year-old boy being hailed as a hero for saving his little sister from a house fire and trying to save his younger brother. WJZ has learned the courageous young man was taken off life support and died Tuesday evening.

Derek Valcourt spoke exclusively with the children’s mother Tuesday afternoon.

She told WJZ her son was brain dead. Family members said he would be removed from life support, which happened Tuesday evening. His organs were all donated.

Somehow his mother found the strength to talk to us about the little boy she will forever remember as a hero.

Rokea McCullough is now in a kind of pain unmatched by any other.

She has lost one son and then lost another. Only her little 4-year-old daughter Wynter escaped unscathed from the fire that ripped through their Bruce Street rowhouse early Monday morning.

“I went in the house. Everything was fine. I went back outside for five minutes, and it was straight upstairs,” McCullough said.

In an exclusive interview, she tells WJZ all three of her children were trapped on the second floor of a burning rowhouse in the 300-block of North Bruce Street early Monday morning.

The staircase was engulfed in flames. Adults inside, including the children’s mother, had escaped but could not reach the kids.

Eight-year-old Decerio Coley acted heroically, bringing his 4-year-old sister to a back second-floor window, where neighbors were waiting below to catch her.

“My 8-year-old boy broke that window and threw his sister out there. And she doesn’t have a scratch on her,” McCullough said.

Decerio then went back inside to look for his 6-year-old asthmatic brother, Sean, and never reemerged.

“He took his own life to save them two,” McCullough said. “He tried to save his brother. He tried so hard. And he went in my room cause he thought I was there to go and get me.

“Thanks to his sacrifice I have my daughter. And that’s it.

“God, thank you for letting me be with him as long as you did. I appreciate every single day.”

As a tribute to the boys at the site of the fire grows, McCullough remembers her brave son.

“The only reason why I’m right here right now is because I need people to know that my baby, my 8-year-old son, is the man. He is the man,” McCullough said.

Coley was being treated at Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital for his injuries. Authorities say he suffered burns to more than 60 percent of his body.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.

Family members are already planning a vigil to honor the two boys on Friday night at the scene of the fire.

Family members say they will be setting up a fund for donations to help pay for funerals for the two boys.

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