LOS ANGELES – A suspected burglar who sneaked into a home chimney Saturday died of thermal burns after the homeowner unwittingly lighted the fireplace, coroner’s officials said.
Cody Caldwell, 19, of Huron, California, also suffered smoke inhalation, according to Fresno County coroner’s officials.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department said Caldwell climbed into the chimney to burglarize the home and got stuck.
When the homeowner returned home, he lighted a small blaze in the fireplace, deputies said.
The homeowner did not know Caldwell was inside the chimney before starting the fire, deputies said.
After lighting the fire, the homeowner heard Caldwell’s yells. As smoke filled the home, the homeowner tried to put out the fire.
Ten minutes later, Caldwell was still moving and breathing inside the chimney.
Firefighters were eventually able to dismantle the chimney to get to Caldwell, but by the time they reached him, he was dead, deputies said.