A blundering Maryland homeowner who attempted to smoke out a snake infestation by starting to smoke the reptiles out, set fire to his $1.8 million home, leaving a charcoaled exterior.
According to county fire investigators, the unnamed homeowner used coals as a source of heat in an attempt to start smoking out the snakes but positioned them too close to combustibles, igniting the huge fire on November 23.
The fire started around 10 p.m. in the basement of the 6,228-square-foot multi-story country house at 21050 Big Woods Road in Dickerson before expanding all through the mansion, according to WJLA.
The roof and structural elements had crumbled by the time 75 firefighters showed up, and flames lit up the night sky.
The lack of fire hydrants on the estate, which has a nearly mile-long driveway and is situated about 60 miles east of Baltimore, also hindered firefighters.
According to Piringer, the homeowner was completely ignorant the house was on fire after he arranged the hot coals in the basement, which was the origin of the home’s snake infestation.
‘Whatever process was being used, and there was number of them, they believe a number of platforms – metal buckets, containers of various kinds used throughout, creating the smoke,’ he said.
‘And they believe some of that, again, combustibles, in this case, may have been a wall or some other combustible material, too close to the heat source.’
Officials did not specify what type of snakes had crept into the mansion, but a native animals expert said it was not unusual for reptiles to seek shelter in cooler temperatures.
It is illegal in the state to kill a snake — any snake — without a permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act protects all native snakes in Maryland.