- World News
Man killed in fall into backyard fire pit in Phoenix
A north Phoenix family struggled in vain Wednesday night to rescue a relative who fell into a backyard fire pit.
The man had been roasting a pig in the 3-foot deep pit, apparently for a large block party to celebrate the New Year. Somehow the man fell in about 8:15 p.m.; the house is in the area of Union Hills Drive and Seventh Street.
Family and friends had been trying to put out the fire with a garden hose and had pulled him out when firefighters arrived, Dorian Jackson, a Phoenix Fire spokesperson said.
Fire crews pronounced the man dead shortly after.
Jackson said it was unknown how long the man had been in the fire pit before family and friends were able to pull him out.
"His friend was so distraught, he was taken to the hospital for treatment," Jackson said.
Neighbors were shocked. They said the house where the man was burned was the center of the New Year's Eve party and always an upbeat place.
"Everybody in the neighborhood is pretty tightly knit," Kathy Kelley said. "And that family is known to do a lot during the holidays."
Alejandro Manjon, a close family friend, who also works with the owner of the house, drove to the house Thursday morning to check on the family after noticing he had 11 missed calls from the night before. Manjon said the family has even been known to gain permission to close the road at the entrance of the cul-de-sac for holiday block parties.
"I couldn't imagine this being anything other than a horrible accident, maybe even a heart attack," Manjon said.
It was also unclear what caused the man to fall into the pit. The Phoenix Police Department was investigating the case.
Hold on, two for one
Listen to this:
"Man opts for jail over New Year with relatives"
A Sicilian man stole sweets and a packet of chewing gum so he could get arrested and spend New Year's Eve in a jail cell rather than be with his wife and relatives, Italian media reported.
The 35-year old Sicilian first showed up at a police station on Thursday asking to be arrested because he preferred spending the night in prison rather than with his family, but was rebuffed because he had not committed a crime, the Agi news agency said.
The man immediately went to a tobacco shop next door, where he threatened the owner with a box cutter as he grabbed a few sweets and a packet of gum.
He then waited until police arrived to arrest him for robbery, the news agency said.
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