WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — An 8-year-old boy desperate for a drink tried to get into a neighbor’s home by sliding down the chimney, but got stuck for more than four hours, authorities said.
West Valley City police Sgt. Robert Hamilton said the thirsty boy climbed a tree to get onto the home’s roof, then slid down the chimney feet first on Friday. The boy made it 30 feet down the chimney before he became wedged between the basement and main floor.
Hamilton said the boy, who lives several blocks away, recently had been in the house for a play date with a grandchild visiting the family who lives there. The family, who had gone out to dinner, returned home to hear a boy crying in the chimney, Hamilton told the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News.
“I was haunted by the fact we had this child in our chimney,” said the homeowner, Richard Draper.
Because of the narrowness of the chimney, as well as its twists and turns, rescuers could not pull out the child with a rope, Hamilton said. They cut an 8-by-5-foot hole in a wall to free the boy, who escaped with little more than scrapes and bruises.
The boy “was surprisingly very calm on scene. His only worry was he was still thirsty when we got there,” Hamilton said. The boy was able to move his arms, so rescuers dropped water to him.
A firefighter carried the soot-covered boy to his mother, who reported him missing earlier.
Hamilton said he didn’t know who would end pay to repair the hole in the home.