Utah's Burning Man-style event, Element 11, was the setting for a bizarre death that occurred Saturday night at Bonneville Seabase in Grantsville. An attendee who ran into a huge bonfire did not survive.
"He looked like he was having a great time," one witness said about Chris Wallace from nearby Salt Lake. "He was running out there. He was dancing a little bit. All of a sudden he jumped into the fire. It’s like he didn’t even know it was fire. It’s like he thought it was just a playground."
A three-story sized Wild Thing character from Where the Wild Things Are was set ablaze for the festival's culmination at 10:30 pm. People ringed the effigy in hopes of thwarting anyone bent on getting too close to the fire, but the speedy Wallace slipped through at 11 pm.
Lt. Steve Barrett reports Wallace's decision was premeditated, that he told others he was going to make a run for it. "This is what he was going to do, and it’s what he did," Barrett explains. "It took not even seconds. He was just through the barricades and into the fire."
Efforts to save Wallace, including the use of a fire extinguisher, failed.
FYI: The clip below shows Wallace as he dances, then dashes toward the fire.