A 19-year-old man is dead after allegedly trying to break into a home in Huron, California. The man tried to enter the home through its chimney last Saturday but he soon became stuck. On Saturday afternoon, the homeowner lit a fire not knowing that the man was trapped inside.
Started Yelling After Homeowner Lit Fire
Police believe that the suspected home intruder tried to enter the home during evening hours while the homeowner was out, and that is when he got stuck. After the fire was lit the following afternoon, the trapped man started yelling and the home filled with smoke.
Although the owner of the home tried to put out the fire, the effort did not save the man. Firefighters arrived on scene, dismantled the chimney and found the suspect dead inside it. According to the local coroner's office, he died of smoke inhalation and burn injuries.
Homeowner Will Probably Not Be Liable for Death
This is a bizarre case from a legal perspective because it deals with suspected breaking and entering, a death, and someone being stuck in a chimney with a fire being started underneath him. Questions are raised as to the homeowner's responsibility for the death as well as the suspected burglar's responsibility for his own death.
It appears that the homeowner was completely unaware of the fact that there was a man inside his chimney at the time he started the fire. If this fact holds true in court, then it is likely that the homeowner cannot be held liable for the unfortunate incident. At the same time, the fact that the man appears to have become stuck while committing a criminal act will further serve to protect the homeowner from any kind of criminal charges or wrongful death claims related to the death.
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