Suspected burglar dies in chimney after resident lights fire

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UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s: Brick two storey suburban house, with exterior smokestack and chimney. (Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a suspected burglar who became stuck in the chimney of a Central California home died after the homeowner unknowingly lit a fire in the fireplace.

Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said an autopsy on Sunday concluded that 19-year-old Cody Caldwell died of smoke inhalation and burns.

Authorities said a homeowner in the rural town of Huron heard someone scream after lighting a fire in his fireplace Saturday afternoon and alerted authorities.

When the homeowner realized a person was stuck in the chimney, he extinguished the fire.

Lt. Brandon Pursell said Caldwell was responsive when firefighters smashed the chimney to get him out, but when they got to the young man he died.

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