Gaston County man dies after falling into bonfire

LOWELL, N.C. — A Gastonia man who fell into a bonfire earlier this week has died.

Police told Channel 9 that Thomas Sliney, 49, somehow fell into the fire outside a home on Lineberger Road in Lowell around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night.

(Thomas Sliney -- photo credit: Tyler Hibberts/Gaston Gazette)

"There were at least two men at the fire and one of them went inside the house," said Lowell Police Chief Scott Bates. "When he came back out, Tom was in the fire screaming."

That second man, Brandon Bullard, pulled Sliney out of the flames but Sliney suffered third-degree burns over most of his body and died Friday at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem.

Bullard suffered minor burns to his arm and forehead.

Police say there was no indication of alcohol or foul play at the fire.