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Police: Rescued Boy, 3, Followed Dad Back Into Burning Home & Died

SHARON, Pa. (KDKA) - A 3-year-old boy found dead in a Mercer County house fire had been rescued by his father but apparently followed the man when he went back inside to save two other children, police said Tuesday.

The fire broke out in the 1000-block of Sherman Avenue around 11:15 p.m.

An autopsy on the body of Layden Thomas, of Sharon, was set for later Tuesday.

Lt. Mark Johnson said severe storms caused a power outage in parts of Sharon late Monday. The family lit a candle for light, which was knocked over by a 5-year-old. As a result, the couch caught on fire.

Lt. Johnson said. Terry Thomas carried his 3-year-old son outside, "put him on the porch, and went back in for the mother, an infant and a 5-year-old."

"It's unimaginable, I did my best, I got him to safety," Thomas said.

Police believe the boy followed his father back into the house, because there's no other way the boy could have wound up back inside without being seen, Johnson said.

"I've seen things happen, but I never thought it'd hit this close to home," Thomas said.

Thomas, two other children, and their mother eventually escaped the fire, Johnson said.

"Everybody was just frantically looking for the little boy, and nobody could find him," neighbor Morgan Sosebee said.

A state police fire marshal was continuing to investigate, but Johnson said the candle was believed to be the cause of the fire.

The boy appeared to have some heat burns, but none from direct contact with fire, leading investigators to believe he died of smoke inhalation before his body was found, Johnson said.

"I wouldn't wish this on anybody. He was a good boy. He always would come up to me if I was upset, tell my mommy I love you, I'm your best friend. It's just so surreal," his mother said.

A vigil for Layden Thomas is set for Wednesday night at 8 p.m. outside the family's home.

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