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Grandfather dies after saving 3-year-old granddaughter from house explosion

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STROTHER,  Okla. - A grandfather died after rescuing his 3-year-old granddaughter in a tragic house explosion.

Don Osteen was a longtime educator, Army veteran, and Purple Heart recipient. He spent his life putting others first and would help anyone if they needed it, even a stranger.

Brendon Osteen says his father looked forward to every minute that he could spend with his granddaughter, Paetyn.

"That's what he was, first and foremost. I mean, he was all about that baby, and she was all about him,” Osteen told KFOR.

He said his father was 15 to 30 feet away from the front door, lighting a candle next to the stove when the explosion happened.

“He wasn't worried about himself at all. I'll leave it at that, but, 'Save her,' was the message he was trying to get across, and he did exactly that,” said Osteen.

Osteen suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and severe burns, but he was able to carry Paetyn to safety, even navigating the family’s steep driveway to get help.

“He just got out of the house and headed straight to where he knew help was. He tried to get in his truck and his keys were melted to him. His phone was exploded in his pocket. Just thought about the steep grade of that driveway, and just knew, and kind of came to the conclusions that they were carried up that driveway, you know? It wasn't him. It wasn't her. Something carried them up that driveway," he said.

Don’s wife and Paetyn’s grandmother was the first to make it to the scene, where she found the pair in the front pasture of the family’s property. Don had even laid Paetyn in the shade.

“He was a man set in his faith, and he knew where he was going, and once he knew he did his job, he knew to relax and go home, you know?” he said.

Osteen says he believes his father is looking over Paetyn as her guardian angel.

“If she’s anything like her papa, who has been good to her so far, then she’ll be tough, you know? And she’s already showing signs of being tough whenever they’re doing all their doctor stuff,” he said.

If you'd like to help the family, an account has been set up in their name at First United Bank in Seminole.

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