Tortoise rescued after starting house fire on Christmas Day

26 December 2019, 16:06

The tortoise was rescued after it started a fire in a house
The tortoise was rescued after it started a fire in a house. Picture: Essex Fire Rescue Service

By Sylvia DeLuca

A 45-year-old "angry-looking" tortoise was rescued from a house fire in Essex on Christmas Day, caused by the pet knocking over its heat lamp.

The tortoise was home alone at a property in Duton Hill, Great Dunmow when it knocked over a heat lamp on to its bedding, which then caught alight.

Neighbours heard the smoke alarm sounding in the Essex property and alerted firefighters, who extinguished the blaze and cleared the property of smoke by 4.50pm.

Gary Wain, watch manager at Great Dunmow Fire Station, said: "This tortoise has had a very lucky Christmas Day - he is 45 years young and will now hopefully continue to live a long and happy life."

The forces used the incident to demonstrate the importance of having working smoke alarms in homes.

"Even if you're not home they [smoke alarms] will alert anyone close by to the first sign of fire," Mr Wain said.

The fire service also tweeted: "This 45 year old tortoise might look angry but it's his lucky day.

"Our on-call crews left their families to go extinguish the fire and gave him a very merry Christmas."

Christmas Day often sees an increase in house fires and hazards as people use candles, indoor fires and festive lights as well as hobs and kitchen appliances a lot.