Boy, 3, Dies After Following Dad Back Into Burning Home
Layden Thomas was found dead under a bed after his initial rescue
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2015 8:18 AM CDT
Stock photo   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A 3-year-old boy is dead after he was saved from a burning home, then apparently followed his father back inside. Police say a storm had killed power to the home in Sharon, Pa., on Monday night, so the resident family of five, including three children under 5, lit a candle for light. Shortly after 11pm, a 5-year-old daughter reportedly knocked it over, then tried to hide the flames with clothes, fearing she'd be in trouble, report CBS Pittsburgh and WTAE. The flames reached a couch, and as the fire erupted, father Terry Thomas carried son Layden outside, "put him on the porch, and went back in" for his wife and daughters, all of whom survived, police say. Layden, however, must have followed his dad inside and hid under a bed, where firefighters later found his body, authorities say. They believe he died of smoke inhalation.

Mom Brittany Smith says she remembers Layden standing in front of the home after she escaped. "I was outside with my newborn baby and my oldest daughter…and Layden was right by my feet, and I'm trying to call the police while I take care of them, and I just glanced away for a second and he ran back in the house," she says, calling the event a freak accident. "I did my best, I got him to safety," says Thomas, who left the home as the ceiling began to collapse, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I chalk it up as this is what God wanted," he adds. "There's nothing we could do." Layden's great-grandfather describes the boy as "just a sweet little baby, that's all. He was wonderful. He was my buddy." A relative says the family had no insurance and "walked away with no shoes on their feet." They're accepting donations to the Layden Thomas Memorial Fund. (After a fire, this man died a hero.)