Snakes rescued from Banbury house fire

Around 30 snakes were rescued by firefighters from a severe blaze in a basement in Banbury.

Thursday, 8th February 2018, 8:45 am
Updated Thursday, 8th February 2018, 9:53 am
Around 100 snakes were saved from a house fire in Banbury. Photo: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service NNL-180802-094221001

The occupants escaped unharmed but a large number of snakes were trapped in the basement of a four-storey house in Middleton Road after a fire broke out on Sunday (February 4).

Firefighters made their way inside as the fire spread around the house and managed to retrieve about 30 of the reptiles while some died.

Watch manager John Callaway said: “We quickly established that the snakes were non-venomous and that no specialist assistance was needed.

“It was unfortunate that some hadn’t survived the fire but many were saved.”

Three fire engines from Banbury and Hook Norton Fire Station were called to the house fire at around 6.15pm, as well as Thames Valley Police who assisted with closing the road and providing support to the residents.

On arrival, the crews were faced with a fire that was rapidly spreading to the ground floor and the occupier informed the crew that a large number of snakes and other exotic animals were kept in the property.

Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using high pressure hose reels managed to make their way into the basement with thermal imaging cameras to extinguish the fire.

A large fan was used to remove the smoke which had spread throughout the building and it was at this point crews found many snakes had escaped from their cages.

Around 30 snakes in total were recovered by fire fighters to be reunited with their owner for rehoming and the last fire engine left the scene at around 9.30pm.

The fire investigation started as soon as the fire was out and it was determined that the most likely cause was electrical.

Mr Callaway added: “It is not uncommon for fires to be started due to an electrical fault and I urge anyone with concerns about fire safety in the home to visit our website or to seek advice from a competent electrician.”