Suspected burglar dies after being removed from chimney

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

FRESNO, CA -- A suspected burglar died Saturday after being trapped in a chimney.

Fresno County Sheriff's deputies responded around 3pm to a home in the 16000 block of W. Gale Ave. in Huron for a call of a burglary.

A homeowner reported that when he lit a fire in his fireplace he heard a man yell from inside the chimney. At this same time, the house began to fill with smoke. The homeowner worked to put the fire out as dispatchers sent firefighters with Cal Fire - Fresno County to the home.

Approximately ten minutes after the initial call, the suspect appeared to still be breathing and moving inside the chimney. A short time later, firefighters dismantled the chimney in an attempt to rescue the suspect, however, it was discovered that he was dead.

A preliminary investigation shows that the suspect had climbed into the chimney overnight in an attempt to burglarize the home and became stuck. The homeowner came home today after being gone yesterday, so he did not know anyone was inside the chimney prior to lighting the fire.

The Coroner's Office has removed the man's body from the scene. An autopsy will be performed to determine his identity, a cause and manner of death.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Deputies are interviewing witnesses and examining evidence to try and learn more details about this case.