Pet snakes burned alive in house fire

John Phillips A FAMILY vowed to stay in their smoked-damaged home after losing 30 pet snakes in a blaze on Sunday night. A collection of corn snakes were incinerated, but several 5ft reptiles managed to crawl to safety as the inferno melted two cages in an upstairs roo

John Phillips

A FAMILY vowed to stay in their smoked-damaged home after losing 30 pet snakes in a blaze on Sunday night.

A collection of corn snakes were incinerated, but several 5ft reptiles managed to crawl to safety as the inferno melted two cages in an upstairs room in Calverley Crescent, Dagenham.

One person was treated by paramedics at the scene after being overcome by fumes, while 15 firefighters wearing breathing masks tackled the fire, which is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault.


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No one was injured, but Dagenham fire station officer Craig White said: "We were working in unusual conditions.

"We were just a little bit wary working with snakes around us all the time. As you can imagine, it was a bit alarming."

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On Monday afternoon a family member, who was recovering from the blaze ordeal, cleared damaged items from the private terraced house. Only a small part of the first floor was destroyed, but firefighters said the property was severely smoke-damaged by the blaze, which happened between 8.30pm-9pm.

The family say they will stay in the home they had only recently moved into where their son was thought to keep the snakes as pets.

One occupant, covered in soot, told the Recorder: "There was a fire. Yes, snakes died in the fire and it was an electrical fault."

The docile, non-venomous corn snakes, or red rat snakes, are a North American species of rat snake and are popular pets.

The council said animal permits were only needed if reptiles were classed in a family that includes mole vipers, stiletto snakes and burrowing asps, under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

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