Teens rescue elderly neighbor, 90, from her burning home

SAPULPA, Okla. (KTUL/CNN) - For 58 years, Catherine Ritchie peacefully lived in her Sapulpa home, just south of Tulsa.

Four Sapulpa teens rescued their 90-year-old neighbor from a house fire.(KTUL/CNN)

That changed about three weeks ago.

"I was getting ready for bed in the bathroom and I turned around and my bed, the head of my bed was covered with flames," Ritchie recalled.

That's where her heroes come in.

“We were just sitting around looking for something to do,” 17-year-old Wyatt Hall said.

“We were actually fixing to leave, I thought, right? We were fixing to go to QT (QuikTrip) to get something to drink,” 16-year-old Seth Byrd added.

The four boys, aged 14 to 17, went outside and the first thing they noticed was a smell.

“It smelled kind of like burning rubber. Then we heard the house alarm go off,” said Sylan Wick, a 16-year-old.

Inside, Ritchie was trying to put out the fire. Eventually, she gave up, called 911 and hit her emergency call button.

But then came another problem.

"At that time, the smoke was so bad, I couldn't see to get out of my room,” Ritchie explained. “I felt along the wall and I went into the closet instead of the door to get out of the room. But anyway, 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.

Fourteen-year-old Nick Byrd managed to get in through the back door and ran inside, finding Ritchie in the hall lost in the smoke.

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

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

Ritchie made it out safe, as did the boys.

Firefighters stopped the flames before they spread.

"Ever since that night, my life has just changed,” Hall said. “For the better."

According to a blog post Ritchie’s daughter wrote thanking the teens, Ritchie has 42 grandchildren. She’s very grateful she's still with them.

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

It’s unclear what caused the fire.

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