LAVEEN, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK/CNN) – A group of firefighters faced the wild scenario of a flaming home filled with hundreds of snakes and other reptiles.
Phoenix Fire Capt. Greg Hawk said firefighters were bit with the element of surprise when they responded to a house fire on Thursday.
“It was honestly like a movie,” Hawk said. “It really hit us that, you know, we were walking around with snakes and lizards and everything else.”
Because so many reptiles were in the home, it changed how firefighters fought the blaze. Rather than fighting it from the outside, they took the riskier approach and battled it from inside to save as many reptiles as they could.
"There were literally firefighters that were fighting fire, squirting water on the fire, and guys next to them picking up snakes and putting them in buckets," Hawk said. "We just knew that we had to do what we could to protect the animals and get the fire out."
It’s the kind of call Hawk said will leave a memorable mark.
"I mean, we see crazy stuff, and this was outside-of-the-box crazy for us," he said. "We were looking at each other and going, ‘This is crazy!’"
The Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary is now caring for the reptiles that survived the fire. None of the snakes were venomous.
Along with the reptiles, firefighters rescued a couple of dogs and cats.