Element 11 Festival-Goer Dies in Desert Bonfire

Police in Utah are investigating after a man killed himself by jumping into a 30-foot bonfire during an arts and culture festival over the weekend in the desert west of Salt Lake City. More than 1,000 people were watching as the man, identified by police as Christopher Wallace of Salt Lake City, ran past safety barriers and leaped into the blaze on Saturday night at the Element 11 event.

The festivities included the construction of giant wooden models, which are then torched. Video taken by a spectator showed the man running into the flames, followed by screams and shrieks as onlookers took in what had happened. Grantsville Police Lieutenant Steve Barrett told The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper that friends of the 30-year-old said he told them that he planned to kill himself by running into the burning effigy, which was shaped like a character from the children's book, "Where the Wild Things Are."

This Saturday July 12, 2014, photo, shows the upper portion of a giant wooden effigy of a character from the classic children's book, "Where the Wild Things Are," before it was burnt Saturday night, during the Element 11 festival, an event similar to Burning Man, in Grantsville, Utah, about 36 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Police say Salt Lake City resident Christopher Wallace died after jumping into the burning three-story-tall effigy effigy. Rick Bowmer / AP


— with Reuters