“Tripped…couldn’t get herself out:” Woman dies after falling into fire pit

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RACINE COUNTY -- A woman somehow fell into a fire pit in Racine County and suffered burns on 80% of her body. After a six-day battle, she passed away on Friday, September 18th at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee.

Shelley Baumann

Shelley Baumann

It's a birthday party turned tragic mystery that happened on Saturday, September 12th.

Along a quiet cul-de-sac, along Ptarmigan Road in Mt. Pleasant, 57-year-old Shelley Baumann joined a guest for a Saturday barbecue.

"It was a gathering of her friends," said Rachel Hulsey, victim's niece.

Baumann's niece was not there, but she says the event lasted a few hours -- until most of the party moved next door to watch a boxing match.

"Most of the group had went inside, and it was just her and another couple, and the couple left," said Hulsey.

A woman who was at the party, says Baumann had left the fire pit. The couple with her assumed she joined the others next door, and decided to leave.

Fire pit

Fire pit

What happened next remains unsolved.

"We're thinking she must have tripped backwards into the brick and couldn't get herself out. We're not 100% sure how much time had passed," said Hulsey.

On the back porch, Baumann had fallen into an elevated fire pit. She was discovered by someone who had come back from next door.

"Everything from her knee all the way to her neck is very, very bad with third and fourth degree burns," said Hulsey.

Baumann was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to Milwaukee's Columbia St. Mary's -- an estimated 80% of her body was burned.

Shelley Baumann

Shelley Baumann

"She was wedged in and just couldn't pull herself up," said Hulsey.

Shortly after FOX6 News' interview, Hulsey says Baumann passed away. But Hulsey says Baumann already surprised her during this battle.

"She has so many friends, and I don't even think I knew how many friends until this happened," said Hulsey.

Baumann is being remembered as a brave fighter, and a caring family member.

It's a tragic ending, to a mystery that may never be solved.

"I don't know. I don't know if any of us are ever going to know what happened," said Hulsey.

If you'd like to help the family, a fund has been set up at Landmark Credit Union at 3413 Rapids Drive in Racine under "Help Shelley Fight" -- a GoFundMe page has also been set up.

4 comments

  • shockedonlooker

    I feel terrible for this poor lady. My other half was PUSHED from behind into a fire as a teenager by someone who ran away and was never seen. What kind of a sicko does that? I assumed from early articles that she was pulled out by someone right away, so sad she was there alone and it’s not really something a person would be concerned about happening if left alone. Sad accident.

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