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Man dies jumping into burning 'Where the Wild Things Are' effigy at music festival

"The whole time I was thinking, 'He's going to walk out, he's going to be okay,'" one witness said.
By Matt Bradwell   |   July 14, 2014 at 5:28 PM

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah, July 14 (UPI) -- A Salt Lake City man is dead after diving into a wooden effigy engulfed in flames during at Utah's annual Element 11 festival.

"He was dancing around a little bit, and then all of a sudden he jumped into it," witness Daisey McDonald told local reporters.

"It's like he didn't even know it was fire. The whole time I was thinking, 'He's going to walk out, he's going to be okay.'"

But 30-year-old Christopher Wallace did not walk out, he died from injuries sustained in the flames.

Event organizers had between 25 and 50 volunteers forming a security perimeter to prevent people from getting to close to the burning statue of one of the monsters from "Where the Wild Things Are," but that was not enough to stop Wallace from causing his own death.

"I'm not going to place any blame on our community members or our volunteers," safety coordinator J.P. Bernier told Salt Lake City's FOX 13.

"Everybody was in the right place at the right time. This guy was really motivated. He was fast, he didn't respond to commands to stop, he clearly had an objective."
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