Firefighters rescue snake from inside gas heater
An 8ft long boa constrictor snake had to be rescued by firefighters from the inner workings of a gas heater after refusing to come out.
Billy the Boa had coiled itself so tightly into the mechanism that a crew from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire had to dismantle the machine to recover the errant reptile.
Crew manager Dave Brierley said colleagues had already joked it would "go down in hiss-tory" as the brigade's most unusual animal rescue.
He said the station's green watch were usually more accustomed to being called to horses, cows and deer in distress.
However, the fire station received a call to a semi-detached home in the town at about 3am on Tuesday, from the owner.
Mr Brierley said the call had been logged as a "small animal rescue", but arrived to find all 8ft of Billy's bulk needed disentangling.
He added: "We would have thought 'that's just a snake that's crawled underneath or behind, it won't be too bad'.
"When we got there it was a big beast and had actually crawled inside, through a vent, and got itself trapped in the workings.
"It was a tricky job."
The experienced firefighter said it had been their first call out on shift, since clocking on for four days and nights back-to-back.
Mr Brierley said: "We haven't had anything like this before. The owner has it out of its vivarium from time to time and it usually coils up around a pouffe, but this time it didn't want to go back into the vivarium.
"So it went into the fire and wouldn't come out."
He said it took the five-person crew about an hour to free the snake, which involved disconnecting the gas supply from the appliance and pulling it to pieces.