Seth A. DeShane, an Illinois teenager and animal lover, died on Jan. 4 after rescuing his aunt from a fire. He was 14.
Born May 28, 1992, DeShane was an eighth grader at Cambridge Junior/Senior High School in the small town of Cambridge, Ill. He liked hiking and fishing, watching science fiction films and reading mythology. A fan of country music, DeShane planned to become a singer/songwriter when he grew up.
Early in the morning of Jan. 4, DeShane realized his family’s Christmas tree was on fire. He woke up his aunt and helped to get her out of the house before returning to the burning building to save his two cats. When his aunt realized DeShane had gone back inside, she reentered the house to pull him out, but the thick smoke and raging flames forced her back outside. She then ran to a neighbor’s home and called 9-1-1 for help.
By the time firefighters from three area departments arrived on the scene, the entire front half of the two-story structure was fully engulfed. The preliminary cause of the blaze was malfunctioning lights on the Christmas tree, Chief Edward Bole of the Cambridge Fire Department said.
DeShane’s body was found inside a bathroom. Preliminary autopsy results show he died of smoke inhalation.