Neighbors say they were begging him to get out, but he refused. The home was used for children with special needs. Counselors would monitor the residence inside.
"We just saw orange flames spewing out of that from window and then there's this black smoke pretty much everywhere," said neighbor Christopher Hardcastle.
"Three of them came out running out the door and the boy wouldn't come out," said Denise Brauun.
As several people called for emergency help others ran to the home. "They were yelling for him and he wouldn't come out," Hardcastle said.
Somehow the teen slipped out of the house and into the backyard. He was safe from the immediate heat contained to a front room, but he was exposed to black smoke.
"I caught his eye on the back of the house and tried to get him to come away from the house and he didn't want to," said neighbor, Denise Brauun.
Moments later police pulled up to the burning home and immediately ran into the danger to get him away.
The home suffered about $140,000 in damage.
Police rushed the 17-year-old boy to the hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation.
Investigators are treating him as a suspect in the fire investigation.