Homeowner tries to smoke out snakes, burns down house

POOLESVILLE, MARYLAND (AP) – An American home was accidentally burned to the ground by an owner trying to get rid of a snake infestation, officials said.

The homeowner in Poolesville, a town about 40 kilometres outside of Washington DC, was attempting to use smoke to purge the snakes from the house, according to Montgomery County Fire Department officials.

In the process, the homeowner caught the house on fire, causing about USD1 million in damage, The Washington Post reported.

The fire broke out around 10pm on November 23, officials said. Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the county fire department, said on Twitter that 75 firefighters were called to put out the blaze that started in the basement.

Piringer said the fire, caused by placing coals too close to combustible material, was accidental and that no people were hurt. But he said the well-being of the snakes is “undetermined”.

Photo provided by the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service shows the remains of a home heavily damaged by fire after the homeowner attempted to use smoke to purge snakes from the house, in Poolesville, Maryland. PHOTO: AP