Boy, 17, trapped in Grayslake house fire had gunshot wound to head

GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- The 17-year-old boy who was rescued from a Grayslake house fire on Tuesday had a gunshot wound to the head when firefighters found him, Grayslake police said in a statement released Friday.

Police said they found a .38 caliber pistol in the home. Police interviewed the boy's grandmother and guardian, Deborah St. Antoine-Browne, at Loyola Hospital in Maywood on Thursday.

St. Antoine-Browne killed herself Thursday afternoon in the Loyola Hospital parking garage, authorities said. Grayslake police were also informed that St. Antoine-Browne gave her granddaughter a bottle of prescription pills with instructions to take all of them.

The granddaughter took some of the medication before seeking help in the Loyola Hospital Emergency Department, police said.

St. Antoine-Browne was guardian to both grandchildren, who are now cared for by the Department of Child and Family Services.

Police and firefighters responded to the house fire in the 300 block of Normandy Lane in Grayslake at approximately 12:37 a.m. Tuesday.

"When our officers arrived there was heavy smoke. Not much flames showing, but heavy smoke from the building," Grayslake Police Chief Phil Perlini said.

Two residents escaped the house, but the 17-year-old boy was trapped on the second floor, police said.

Three officers made several attempts to enter the house before crouching down on the ground and forming a human chain to get through the thick smoke.

"They couldn't see, so they were all in constant contact with each other through touch. That's how they went up the stairs," Perlini said. "They could hear him breathing and moaning and groaning as they went up the stairs. They are feeling every step of the way. They went up and finally felt a shoulder, I believe, and they pulled him down the stairs."

Neighbor with one surviving dog

The teenager was taken to the burn unit at Loyola in critical condition. All three officers were treated for smoke inhalation at Condell Hospital and are expected to recover.

Two dogs that were in the house died in the fire, but a third dog survived after Mohlman gave it oxygen.

Firefighters from Round Lake, Libertyville, Gurnee, Newport, Mundelein, Lake Zurich, Spring Grove, Antioch, Countryside, Knollwood helped extinguish the fire.

The fire originated in a dryer vent in the kitchen of the home, police said.

"There is some circumstances inside that weren't ordinary. We are just doing our due diligence here to find out what happened," Perlini said.

He did not elaborate on those circumstances. He said since the cause of the fire was not immediately known, investigators called for extra hands to help.

The Grayslake Fire Protection District is investigating the fire with assistance from the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office and the Lake County Major Crime Task Force. The boy's gunshot wound and St. Antoine-Browne's death and actions toward her granddaughter are still under investigation.
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