WEST VALLEY CITY — Richard Draper said he has come home to a few surprises in his life, but nothing quite like Friday night.

Draper and his family went out around 5 p.m. for some dinner. When they came home around 7:30 p.m., they could hear a noise coming from their home.

After looking through the house, they went downstairs to see if they had left the television on. They hadn't.

Instead, they discovered an 8-year-old boy trapped inside their chimney.

The boy said his name was Steven and that he had tried to get into the house to get a drink, Draper said.

Police, who had received a report of a missing child earlier, responded and went to work. They were able to lower water down to the boy from the roof, but they had to cut a hole in the Draper's wall in order to free him.

"There used to be art on this wall," Draper said. "There used to be a lot of things on this wall."

It took about an hour for police to get the boy out, Draper said. From the main floor, police were able to reach down and pull up Steven, who was standing on the chimney flue between the basement and main floor.

Medical personnel were standing by, Draper said, but after being trapped in a chimney for more than four hours, the boy emerged with little more than scrapes and bruises.

"When they brought him out, he was in much better condition than I anticipated," he said.

Police said the boy was being watched by his older siblings and wandered off. His siblings called their parents, who then called police.

The boy had been on the Draper's property earlier in the day, Draper said, looking for kids to play with. After the family left, he apparently climbed up the apricot tree near the house and lowered himself feet first into the chimney.

Draper said he and his family were fearful for the boy's condition and were relieved to see him in good health.

"I was haunted by the fact that we had this child in our chimney," he said. "All in all, this turned out really well."

Benjamin Wood