A homeowner tried to smoke out a snake infestation. His house burned down.
- A Marland homeowner set up a smoke device to rid his home of a snake infestation.
- Local authorities said his idea didn't go as planned and the house burned down.
A Maryland homeowner burned down their house trying to smoke out a snake infestation, local fire officials said.
Pete Piringer, public information officer for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service said in a tweet last month that a home on Big Woods Rd near Poolesville, Maryland, had burned down.
On Friday, Piringer said an investigation found that the fire was caused by an accident after the homeowner tried to use smoke to manage a snake infestation.
"The snakes — the original culprits of this process — which the homeowner was trying to eradicate from this space using smoke apparently did not go as planned," Piringer said in a statement.
Piringer said neighbors saw the fire and called firefighters.
"It is believed that the heat source was too close to the combustibles and caused fire in the walls and ceiling area, unknown and unbeknownst to the homeowner at that time," Piringer said.
Piringer added that the fire started in the basement and worked its way up the walls and floor.
—Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) December 3, 2021
Piringer said no one was injured but the fire caused over $1 million in damages.
Wildlife biologist Dan Rauch told the Post the snakes were most likely either garter snakes or Eastern ratsnakes, which are common in the area. He said snakes go into "brumation" – a form of hibernation for cold-blooded animals – where they aren't quite in a deep sleep but are less active.
The snakes like to get together and use their collective body heat to stay warm in the winter and foundations and basements are ideal locations for this activity, the Post reported.
Insider was unable to reach Piringer at the time of publication but he told The Washington Post there isn't a full accounting of the snakes. However, firefighters found the skin of one in the ashes, while another was found alive.
"He came out of the foundation," Piringer told the Post.
Firefighters released the surviving snake into the wild.
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