Burglar Dies in Chimney After Homeowner Lights Fire in Fireplace

A suspected burglar was found dead in the chimney of a Central California home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. According to reports, the suspect was identified as 19-year-old Cody Caldwell. Authorities believe that Caldwell became stuck while trying to climb down into the chimney sometime on Friday night.

Sometime on Saturday the homeowner started a fire in the fireplace, which led to Caldwell’s death. The coroner determined the teen’s cause of death to be a combination of burn injuries and smoke inhalation.

Caldwell may have been in the fireplace for as long as 24 hours before the fireplace was lit.

It is believed that the homeowner had no idea that Caldwell was in the chimney when he started the fireplace, however as the flames reached the teen, the homeowner heard Caldwell’s screams and rushed to try and put out the fire and called for emergency help.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office indicated that the house was filled with smoke when firefighters arrived at the scene, and an attempt was made to dismantle the chimney. However by the time rescue efforts reached him, Caldwell had already succumbed to the smoke.

It isn’t yet known if Caldwell had a previous criminal record.