It is hard to say if he was a hero in general, but I would say that, at two points in the book, at least, he is a hero.
First, he clearly acts like a hero acts at the fire. Anyone who will risk themselves to save others is a hero at that moment. It does not mean they are great people all that time, but at that moment, they are heroes.
Second, I think you can argue that Johnny is a hero as he dies. Instead of thinking only of himself and feeling sorry for himself, he is clearly focused on others. It is his note to Pony that helps motivate Pony to "stay gold."
So, in those two instances at least, I would say he is acting like a hero.
In the book The Outsiders I have to state that I believe that Johnny Cade was a hero. The book talks about him being a pet to the group and a person that they all liked. Johnny must have had something special about him that drew the people to him.
In addition, when Johnny saw Pony Boy being drowned by the Socs he stabbed them to save Pony Boy. He must have been very scared but he reacted on behalf of his friend's protection.
When Johnny ran into the church he did it without hesitation. He kew the children were in danger and needed help so he just did what was right. Hero's are born in times of duress. It takes a stressful situation to demonstrate what a man's true measure is. Johnny showed that he was the best of young men by not thinking about his own life, but the lives of the children.
he risked his life many times by turning himself in and saving the children in the church fire and he also is the reason ponyboy stays gold in the end otherwise who knows what ponyboy could end up like
he is a hero because he is so sweg
I think he is a hero because he is selfless and that is one character trait of a modern day hero. They don`t have yo be royal they only need to help people and he is that exact thing.