Las Vegas Sun

April 27, 2015

Daring teens save tots from fire

Broken leg does not deter rescuer

Three Las Vegas youths came to the rescue of two small children Wednesday after a gasoline explosion, touched off by a water heater igniting fumes from a gas can, engulfed a garage in flames.

The rescuers were identified as Wayne Sly, 14; 16-year-old Scott Harmon and John Blading, 15, whose broken leg was set in a cast at the time of the blaze.

Four-year-old Daniel Huddelson was reported in critical condition in the Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital burn unit with third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body. David Watkins, who sustained third-degree burns on his lower legs, was reported in stable condition, officials said.

The daring rescue occurred at about 11 a.m. Wednesday after the three teenagers heard woman screaming from the front yard of a home at 316 Hinkle St., one of the rescuers told the SUN.

"We were walking down the street when we heard her screaming," 14-year-old Sly said. "When we looked over we could see smoke pouring out of the garage."

After running over to the hysterical woman, the youths learned there was a child trapped in the flaming building. They later learned that 2-year-old David, who had also been in the structure when the fire broke out, had managed to escape moments before they arrived.

"The littler kid had managed to get out before we got there," Sly said, "but because there was a car in the way, the other kid was trapped."

The three teen-agers opened the front doors on the garage but because of the enormous amount of heavy smoke were unable to see inside.

Harmon ran to get a garden hose as 15-year-old Balding attempted to enter the garage to rescue the child trapped in the blazing garage. Because of the smoke and heat, however, Balding was forced to retreat.

Sly said the garden hose was too short to reach the flames and was ineffective in fighting the fire.

"The car was in the way, and we couldn't see anything," Sly said. "We could hear the little kid crying, but we couldn't see him.

"John told Scott to soak him down," Sly said, "and then John went in and got the kid. He dragged him out by his arm."

Immediately after 4-year-old Daniel was pulled from the burning building, three Las Vegas ire Department units and two paramedic units arrived on the scene - just five minutes after the original call came in.

Mrs. Theodore Tsetsakis, a neighbor who lives near the residence, said the children were under the care of a babysitter, who reportedly was in the house when the fire started.

"They really took charge, which was good," said Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman David Washington. "If they had not been on the scene, I'm sure it would have been much worse."

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 2 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. ~
    I still have the original newspaper headlines and articles, now scanned and on my Brother's memorial <3

    I wish there had been VCRs back then so I could have a copy of my Brother on the news saying how he didn't think twice about going into that burning house when he heard the babies screaming for help.
    He said he thought about his nephew (my son) who was 3.

    One of his best Friends just contacted me through FB. Wayne touched so many life's and left so much behind to those he loved and cared for.

    He helped to build and repair friends homes or those in need, once he crafted a most wonderful pine chest for a infant girl who is now grown and still has it. Gave his name to 2 children and paid Child support for them too.
    He taught and gave to people freely with a smile.

    Wayne touched so many life's in so many awesome ways.

    He was so very crafty and knowledgeable with most anything... autos, wood, bricks (masonry), welding, machinery, lol, and there wasn't anything he couldn't drive and/or operate.

    There is much to be said about my Brother Wayne being only 14 years old and his 2 Friends Scott and John just barely teenagers walking along in the neighborhood...

    Seeing a burning house, hearing the babies screaming as they were being burnt alive and run right into the danger without thinking twice about getting them out while the babysitter (who was suppose to be watching them) just stood outside yelling with the other adults.

    One of the 3 hero's Sister,

  2. Wayne, I miss you more then I can say, seems like the hurt won't go away. Maybe because I am blessed with so many wonderful memories with you.

    Thank you for being the Brother you were/are.


History: Table of contents »