Entries in Chimney (2)


Thirsty Utah Boy Stuck in Chimney for Hours Trying to Get Drink

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH) -- A thirsty 8-year-old Utah boy attempted to climb down a couple's chimney to ask for a drink but ended up getting stuck in the chimney for at least four hours.

Firefighters rescued the boy, Stephen Hopkins, from Richard and Sandy Draper's chimney in West Valley City, Utah, on Friday.

Sandy Draper, 60, said the boy had played earlier in the day with her 8-year-old granddaughter and 5-year-old grandson. She said she had never met the boy before Friday.

Draper made toast for Stephen and he drank a glass of water during the afternoon. He played on the swings with her grandchildren. At around 2:45 p.m., Draper said, she sent the boy home because she needed to run errands.

When she returned home at around 4:10 p.m., she thought she heard a voice but assumed it was kids playing outside, she said. She and her husband dashed off to dinner.

"When we came back at 7:30 p.m., we came in and we hear this voice and Richard [her husband] said, 'Oh there's kids in the backyard,' and I say, 'Oh, I bet I left the TV on,'" Draper said.

It wasn't kids playing or a television turned on, but the 8-year-old boy crying for help.

"We could just hear this voice…I couldn't articulate the words until I hit the fireplace in the basement," she said.

When Draper asked how the boy got into the chimney, he said that he had climbed up a tree in the couple's yard to reach the chimney. He would later tell police that he was thirsty and was trying to get into the home for a drink of water.

Attempts to reach Stephen's family were unsuccessful. Police said that they are not investigating any charges of child neglect. The boy had been left in the care of his teenaged siblings and was last seen by his family at around 11 a.m. Friday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The boy told the Drapers a different story: that he was staying with his grandparents for the next three days.

Draper and her husband called authorities at around 7:30 p.m., around the same time that Stephen's family called to report him missing.

The boy made it nearly 30 feet down the chimney and got lodged in the couple's basement.

While the boy was lodged in the basement, firefighters were able to get him out by breaking through a wall in the Draper family's living room.

"A big burly fireman carried him out and he looked at everyone and then he hid his face," Draper said. "He was this blond, blue-eyed kid covered in black."

West Valley City Police said the boy was taken to the hospital on Friday but suffered only scrapes.

"I'm just glad he went down foot first," Draper said. "What's haunting for us is what could have been...who would look in their chimney for a missing child....We kind of can have humor in it now because it turned out well."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Found in Bank Chimney 27 Years Later

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ABBEVILLE, La.) -- The remains of Joseph Schexnider, missing for 27 years, were finally discovered lodged in a brick chimney at the Abbeville National Bank in Louisiana.

The bones were found in May when the bank was renovating the second floor, which had long been used for storage, to make more office space.

The identity of the body was confirmed this week through DNA.

"This was absolutely the first chimney recovery we had ever had," said Mary Manhein, head of FACES, the lab at Louisiana State University that identified Schexnider's bones.

There weren't any dental records available so the lab relied on DNA evidence after police obtained a reference sample from Schexnider's family, who live in the area.

"I would submit he died within a few days maximum of when he went into that chimney," said Manhein.

But as to how he died, or why he was in the chimney to begin with, Manhein says, "Nobody will ever know."

Police discovered a pair of gloves among the remains but can only speculate as to the significance. They don't suspect foul play, Manhein said. The bones showed no signs of trauma.

The chimney at Abbeville National Bank opens on the second floor, a space the bank had been using for storage.

In May, the bank was in the process of renovating that floor to create additional offices. A contractor installing plywood first found the bones in the chimney while removing a metal shield covering the face of the fireplace. It was then that he discovered small bones and clothing at the base of the fireplace. The majority of the body appeared to have gotten stuck just above the fireplace in the narrow flue.

The bank called the district attorney's office, and they notified police.

Schexnider, who was 26 when he disappeared, had served in the National Guard and also worked in the circus for several months until the circus left the country.

When he disappeared in January 1984, the family reportedly thought he might be running from the law because he had failed to appear in court for possession of a stolen vehicle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio