Shortly before 4:30 p.m. Thursday the Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a mobile home fire at 423 Fudges Chapel Road. Firefighters were alerted by Central Dispatch while en route that there were no people in the burning residence, but they should use caution because there was a python inside.
They found out later the snake lived in an aquarium and was only about 18 inches long.
Carters Valley VFD Public Information Officer Capt. Mike Yates said when firefighters arrived on the scene they found heavy smoke inside the residence, but no flames showing.
“We laid a (water) supply line from the creek on Fudges Chapel, and then the guys went inside, knocked the fire down, and contained it within the kitchen,” Yates said. “We determined that the fire was electrical and started in the kitchen.”
Charles Carpenter, who lives in the residence, said he’d gone out just after 3 p.m. and everything was fine. Firefighters had the fire almost out by the time he returned home.
Carters Valley VFD Assistant Chief Chris Hartsock, who was among the firefighters to make initial entry, said the heat inside the residence during the fire was intense. A computer on the opposite end of the kitchen from where the fire started had completely melted, although oddly enough two cereal boxes next to the computer were only slightly damaged.
Firefighters agreed, however, that Oscar, who stayed in the front room not far from the kitchen, never had a chance.
“I’d say Oscar succumbed to the heat,” Yates said. “When they carried him out his aquarium was so hot it burned their hands through their gloves.”
Firefighters joked with Carpenter that they were happy to perform mouth-to-mouth and resuscitate him or his girlfriend if needed, but Oscar was out of luck.
“I don’t blame you,” replied Carpenter, who took his pet’s death in stride.
The American Red Cross was called to the scene to help Carpenter find temporary lodgings and other assistance.
Firefighters from Church Hill and Goshen Valley assisted at the scene.