Three Grayslake police officers were hailed as heroes after they rushed into a burning house early Tuesday to rescue a teenager trapped inside.
Sgt. Scott Heimos, officer Kurt Newman and officer Sean Madden each were injured during the rescue when they ran through smoke to reach a 17-year-old boy who couldn't escape the house on the 300 block of Normandy Lane.
"They showed extraordinary bravery," Police Chief Phil Perlini said. "It's a big deal what they did. I'm proud of them."
Perlini said the officers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Heimos and Madden were treated and released, but Newman remained in the hospital later in the day as a precaution, he said.
The boy was taken to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he was listed in critical condition, police said.
The other residents of the house -- the boy's grandmother and a sibling -- escaped safely, authorities said.
Firefighters from the Grayslake Fire Protection District were called to the house at 12:34 a.m. for a report of a structure fire with a trapped person, officials said in a news release early Tuesday.
Firefighters arrived to find the police officers pulling the teen through the front door, authorities said.
The residents who got out had told the officers a third person was trapped upstairs, and the officers chose to enter the house "in extremely smoky conditions" to find the teen, police said.
Perlini, who also is a paid on-call firefighter, said he knows what the officers faced entering the burning house without protective gear.
"They exemplify what we do and how we serve the community," he said.
Police circled the house and neighboring houses with yellow tape through the morning, before reducing the yellow-tape perimeter about 11 a.m.
About a dozen officers from several law enforcement agencies were seen coming and going from the house until noon. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said Grayslake police called in evidence technicians from the task force about 3 a.m. to assist.
Authorities have not released a cause of the fire or damage totals, saying the case remains under investigation.
"They are all very nice people," neighbor Luis Ramos said of the family who lived in the house. "I was shocked at what happened."
Grayslake firefighters received assistance at the scene from departments in Round Lake, Libertyville, Gurnee, Newport, Mundelein and Lake Zurich.
• Daily Herald staff writer Chacour Koop contributed to this story.