Texas firefighters rescued more than 100 reptiles from burning house

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Thursday, December 13, 2018
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A fire sparked by a Christmas tree at a home jeopardized the lives of hundreds of reptiles that were inside.

CONROE, Texas -- A number of pythons and boa constrictors managed to survive a massive house fire, thanks to quick-acting firefighters who worked to get them out.

The home, located in the River Plantation community, caught fire Saturday morning and may have been caused by a Christmas tree located in the living room on the first floor.

When crews arrived on the scene, they discovered several snakes in cages in an upstairs bedroom.

"A dog or a cat, that's one thing," said Lieutenant Bobby Matthews with the Caney Creek Fire Department. "But a snake, that's a whole other animal."

The reptiles were inside glass cages built into the wall. Fire crews managed to work with the homeowner to get them out.

"The guys that like or don't mind handling the snakes didn't mind doing it," Lt. Matthews said. "They were more than willing to help the homeowner and the fire marshal get them out."

Some of the snakes that were rescued were 5- or 6-foot pythons and boa constrictors.

"Not sure how many lizards we found, but the snakes were large enough to give anyone crawling through a smoke-filled house a heart attack," said fire chief Raymond Flannelly. Flannelly added that none of the snakes were venomous.

Those reptiles are now being boarded at a facility in Magnolia, according to the homeowner.

"The homeowner wasn't willing to give a lot of information on why they had so many snakes. In fact, they told us the snakes don't like people in uniform," Flannelly said. "But as firefighters, we will do anything to help anybody."

The rescued snakes are expected to be okay.

In addition to the snakes, two dogs also managed to escape the home, but several other reptiles were not as lucky.

Nobody was home at the time of the fire and the homeowners say they are grateful to the firefighters for helping to rescue some of their pets.

All the Caney Creek Fire Department wants for Christmas is for residents to have working smoke detectors and think twice about leaving their Christmas tree unattended with the lights on.

"Christmas is not here yet and we are already answering calls related to house fires caused by trees, and these are preventable fires," Flannelly said.

WLS-TV and CNN contributed to this report.