Snakes in a Blaze

30 snakes die in Virginia fire

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Thirty nonpoisonous snakes died in a blaze in the Kingstowne area, Fairfax County firefighters said.

Two teenagers inside the home at the time of the fire escaped. No people suffered injuries, but a family of five was displaced.

The fire was reported at about 8:40 a.m. Thursday. Firefighters found heavy smoke upon arrival at the single-family, two-story home.

The accidental fire was caused by an extension cord, officials said. Damage was estimated at $90,000.

Animal control officers helped firefighters rescue snakes and other reptiles that survived the blaze.

The snakes belonged to a teenager who lives at the home. His mother, Sally Fordge, said he rescued most the snakes after they were abandoned by previous owners, usually children, News4's Eun Yang reported.

"They're all very well secured, which is why … they couldn't get out and perished," she said.

The reptiles all are legal to own, according to Animal Control. The teen is an Eagle Scout who uses his reptile collection to educate children about responsible pet ownership and respecting nature, Yang reported.

"That's why we do these merit badge classes, education, nature shows, whatever -- to help young people know how to be responsible pet owners or just to appreciate nature," said Fordge, who is the homeowner.

Six snakes survived.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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