Essex

Tortoise rescued after setting Great Dunmow house on fire

Rescued tortoise. Image copyright Essex Fire and Rescue
Image caption The reptile, 45, started a house fire by knocking a heat lamp onto his bedding

An "angry-looking" tortoise has been rescued after it started a fire in a house.

The 45-year-old reptile was home alone when it knocked a heat lamp on to its bedding in a room at the house in Duton Hill, Great Dunmow, on Christmas Day.

Firefighters were called at about 16:30 GMT after neighbours heard alarms, and found the house smoke-logged.

Watch manager Gary Wain said the tortoise "will now hopefully continue to live a long and happy life".

"This shows how important it is to have smoke alarms on every level of your home.

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

The fire was extinguished and the house cleared of smoke within 25 minutes.

A Facebook post said: "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."

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