A west suburban police officer is credited for saving the life of a teenager who was stuck inside a burning townhouse in Lisle late Tuesday.
Officer Bill Wise, a 21-year veteran of the Lisle Police Department, said it was one of the most intense situations he’s ever experienced on the job.
“I just was lucky to be there, you know?” Wise said. “I’m just glad that we were able to save the kid; otherwise, it would have been a lot [more] tragic situation.”
Wise was close by and the first to arrive at the scene of the fire in the 2700 block of Wayfairing Lane just after 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Nathan Mendoza, 14, was home alone and could not escape the basement.
“I sprinted up to the house. I could hear the kid yelling for help,” Wise said.
Wise said when he kicked in the front door he was met by smoke, fire and heat. He said he soon realized the teen was at a window well that was partially covered by a deck.
“I could see the kid’s hand and arm poking out of the window well from underneath a cover that he couldn’t push up,” Wise said.
Wise told reporters he moved an air conditioning unit to be able to better access the window well. He said he pulled up the window well cover high enough so that he could pull out the teen.
“He did a great job staying composed, telling me where he was, and I’m just glad that he’s OK,” Wise said.
Wise and Mendoza were treated at the scene. Wise was transported to the hospital and later released.
“I did take a lot of smoke, but luckily, I don’t feel sick or anything like that,” Wise said.
Michelle Mendoza said her son is doing better. She said Nathan was smart enough to break the window in the basement so that he could breathe.
“We are very grateful that Nathan survived the fire and truly indebted to Officer Wise’s selfless and quick thinking,” Mendoza said. “Thank you very much for saving Nathan’s life. We salute you!”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help replace Nathan’s belongings and school supplies.
The Lisle-Woodridge Fire District said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.