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Fire rescue crews save reptiles from fire

Firefighters save 10 exotic reptiles, including python

Reptile rescued from fire
Reptile rescued from fire

BARTOW, Fla. – Rescuing family pets from a burning home is part of the job for Polk County Fire Rescue personnel, but the rescuing exotic reptiles is a little different.

[PICS: Reptiles saved from fire]

Firefighters from three stations responded just before noon on Wednesday to 6303 Tierra Vista Circle to fight a fire that broke out in the rear of the residence, where several of the snakes and lizards were being housed, including Elli, a 17-foot Java reticulated python. After extinguishing the fire, personnel retrieved several of the snakes.

"It was unusual for us," Battalion Chief Randy Barfield said. "We hear people say their dog or cat is inside and if we get to them, the smoke sometimes get them. This rescue was definitely unusual, to say the least."

Snakes may strike fear in some people, but firefighters wasted no time re-entering the home to save the reptiles.

The homeowner was grateful that crews were able to save all of the reptiles. She is giving the personnel an opportunity to make the rescue more memorable by allowing them to name the two albino 8-foot reticulated pythons that they saved.

Along with the reptiles, the family also has two dogs and a cat, which got out of the home safely.