A teen boy is in critical condition and three police officers were hospitalized Tuesday morning following a fire in far north suburban Grayslake, but an investigation into the fire has led to questions on its cause.
The fire broke out just after midnight in the 300 block of Normandy Lane, fire officials said. The flames sparked at the rear of the home with heavy smoke filling the inside as a young boy became trapped, according to authorities.
Others inside the home made it out safely, but told officers at the scene a third person was still inside. A neighbor and three police officers rushed into the burning building to rescue the 17-year-old, witnesses and fire officials said.
“The cops showed up and we tried getting in there with them and one of them finally just took a deep breath and went in,” said neighbor Brad Mohlman. “I kind of went in with them and stayed at the bottom of the stairs, he pulled [the boy] down from the top of the stairs. [The boy] was in rough shape, he wasn’t breathing right, he was gasping - it wasn’t good.”
Police said the boy was taken in critical condition to Advocate Condell Medical Center and was being transported to Loyola University Medical Center.
The officers who went inside the home were hospitalized for smoke inhalation but two were released Tuesday morning, according to Grayslake Fire Chief Jon Christian. The third officer was being held for observation but is expected to be OK.
"These things come up and you act how you act. There isn't an officer on the department who wouldn't do the same thing," said Grayslake Police Chief Phil Perlini.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, and police and fire authorities were at the scene. There were smoke detectors inside the home, police said.
Perlini said the fire had not been ruled a crime scene as of Tuesday morning, but noted "some circumstances inside that are not ordinary."