A homeowner accidentally set his house on fire while trying to get rid of a snake infestation from his basement.
The unnamed man from Maryland reportedly used coals to smoke the snakes out of his $1.8 million house but because it was very close to combustibles, it sparked a massive blaze, county fire investigators said.
According to WJLA, the fire started at around 10 pm in the basement and quickly spread throughout the rest of the house.
By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, parts of the house’s structure and its roof had already collapsed.
Speaking to Fox 5, MCFRS spokesman Pete Piringer said that the homeowner was not aware that his house was on fire after started burning coals in the basement, where the snake infestation was.
“Whatever process was being used, and there was number of them, they believe a number of platforms – metal buckets, containers of various kinds used throughout, creating the smoke,” Piringer said.
“And they believe some of that, again, combustibles, in this case, may have been a wall or some other combustible material, too close to the heat source,” he continued.
A wildlife expert said that it is not uncommon for snakes to seek refuge during the cold season.
Conservation specialist Beth Schlimm said: “During the wintertime, like any other animal, you know they’re naturally going to want to find a space where they can stay warm and they’re not going to freeze.”
“So typically that might mean finding a crevice in a fallen tree or in a pile of rocks. But occasionally they find a crack in someone’s foundation to their house,” Schlimm added.
She also said that the most effective way to prevent such infestations is by sealing any cracks in the foundation.
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