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Chimney falls on man recovering bricks for garden
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A Ceres man sustained life-threatening injuries Saturday morning when an entire brick chimney stack at a burned house fell on him.

Sam Whitely, 58, of Ceres, was hospitalized at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto after sustaining crushed bones in the 8 a.m. incident.

The River Road resident went to the site to get some chimney bricks for his garden. The chimney was left standing at 2942 Service Road after Ceres firefighters engaged in a practice burn a few weeks ago, said Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith. The site is being cleared for the development of the Hampton Inn. As he was chipping bricks at about chest level, the entire stack collapsed and toppled on him.

Whitely's son, Brandon Whitely, saw the stack fall on his father as he was visiting with someone at a neighboring residence. He and others rushed to dig the victim from the rubble. Officer Jeremy Caron happened to be driving by the site at the southwest corner of Service and Mtchell at about the same time and assisted.

Whitely sustained multiple skull fractures, a broken right arm, broken pelvis, broken right leg and ankle, broken ribs and a lacerated liver.