Portage officer saves boy from burning home
9-year-old was trapped in home during fire
PORTAGE, Wis. — A Portage police officer is being called a hero after helping save a boy’s life during a fire early Saturday morning.
A house full of relatives — three children and two adults — caught on fire at about 1 a.m. Saturday in Portage.
One of the occupants, Peyton Epstein, 9, was trapped in the burning home.
Police Officer Bill Charlebois arrived at the scene and decided to crawl through the home and bring the boy out to safety.
Charlebois said he couldn’t see anything but was able to feel around. He felt Peyton’s hand, which grabbed back at his own hand, and he brought him outside.
“It’s just doing your job as a police officer. I’m just very grateful it turned out the way it did and thankful for us being here today and being safe,” Charlebois said.
The boy’s mother said she’s eternally grateful and has a hard time finding the words to thank the officer for his heroic actions.
The family met with Charlebois on Tuesday for the first time since the fire and shared lots of hugs.
The mother and father weren’t home at the time of the fire. An aunt and grandfather were babysitting while the parents were out with other family members, celebrating the fact that they were renewing their vows Saturday night.
Because of the fire, they weren’t able to renew their vows. But they’re working with their vendors to reschedule the ceremony marking their 10-year wedding anniversary.