A Maryland homeowner’s plan to stop a snake infestation with smoke took a bad turn when the person accidentally burned down their manor.
“Firefighters called to the home on Big Woods Road in Dickerson about 10 p.m. Nov. 23 found the roof had collapsed and the residence engulfed in flames, according to a Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson,” CBS Baltimore reported Friday.
Seventy-five firefighters finally got the blaze under control, but by then the house was too far gone.
It was estimated the fire caused more than $1 million in damages to the house, and property records reportedly said it was purchased in 2014 for $1.85 million.
No one was at home when the incident occurred.
“An investigation determined the homeowner had set up hot coals in the basement to smoke out snakes that had invaded the home. The coals were placed too close to combustible items, which ignited and set the house on fire,” the CBS report said.
On what appeared to be his social media profile, Pete Piringer, the chief spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service, shared photos of the burned out structure:
ICYMI – Update Big Woods Rd, house fire 11/23; CAUSE, accidental, homeowner using smoke to manage snake infestation, it is believed heat source (coals) too close to combustibles; AREA of ORIGIN, basement, walls/floor; DAMAGE, >$1M; no human injures; status of snakes undetermined https://t.co/65OVYAzj4G pic.twitter.com/xSFYi4ElmT
— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) December 3, 2021
Piringer also noted, “status of snakes undetermined.”
Additional video footage taken after the fire showed piles of debris lying near the house:
Snakes in one’s home or around the house are not easily controlled, and even though most of the creatures are not venomous, it was wise to remain cautious, according to the Orkin website:
Snakes enter a building because they’re lured in by dark, damp, cool areas or in search of small animals, like rats and mice, for food. Snakes can be discouraged from entering a home in several ways. Keeping the vegetation around the house cut short can make the home less attractive to small animals and snakes.
Other methods include screening all outside vents, making sure doors and windows fit tightly, and sealing cracks and holes around the foundation. Check access doors to basements and crawl spaces to be certain they fit tightly. Even tiny holes should be sealed.
During the cooler months, snakes may try to get in crawl spaces, cellars, sheds, and basements.
“Once a snake is inside, it can be difficult to find. To coax snakes out, try leaving piles of damp burlap bags or rags in areas where the snake was seen. After several days, use a large shovel to remove the whole pile of bags and (hopefully) the snake,” the website read.