A suspected burglar died after becoming stuck in the chimney when the unsuspecting homeowner lit a fire.
Speaking to KFSN, Fresno County Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Pursell said a homeowner in the rural town of Huron, California, heard someone scream after lighting a fire in his fireplace.
As soon as the homeowner heard their cries for help, they called 911 and tried to put out the fire as his house progressively filled up with smoke.
Emergency services rushed to the chaotic scene, with firefighters using jackhammers to break open the brick chimney in an attempt to release the man.
However, the suspected burglar – who has not yet been identified – died during the attempted rescue. Pursell added that the man was responsive during the panicked rescue attempt and appeared to be breathing and moving inside the chimney.
According to KFSN, preliminary investigations showed the man had climbed into the chimney at some point overnight to steal from the homeowners before he became stuck. A day later, the owner started a fire without knowing the suspected burglar was inside.
The Fresno County coroner removed the man’s body and an autopsy will take place later today to determine actual cause of death and uncover his identity.
Police state that the investigation into this tragic incident is still ongoing.