In a story reminiscent of the Three Little Pigs, a man attempting to burglarize a home in Huron, California on Saturday by climbing down the chimney died when he became stuck and the homeowner returned and started a fire.
The suspected burglar, Cody Caldwell, 19, had entered the chimney on Friday night. The homeowner returned at roughly 3 p.m. on Saturday and kindled a fire, prompting the house to fill with smoke.
Caldwell reportedly screamedas smoke filled the chimney, according to Fox News. The homeowner immediately attempted to stop the fire, but even with the arrival of firefighters to dismantle the chimney, Caldwell died.
Jake Jensen of the sheriff’s office told TIME, “I’ve been a deputy for 17 years now and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Fresno County Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Pursell said firefighters used jackhammers to break open the brick chimney, and Caldwell was responsive during the rescue, but died at the scene.
The local ABC News affiliate reported that the homeowner, bizarrely, was wanted by police:
In a strange twist deputies discovered the homeowner was also wanted by law enforcement.
“It was totally unrelated to this case,” Botti said. “It just so happened that the victim had an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor DUI and also a felony drug possession. Our deputy used his discretion to issue him a citation.”
Friends of the deceased burglar told ABC-30 that “he was a decent guy. But his life ended Saturday in a sad and strange way.”