A large structure fire that destroyed a Maryland, US home in November was caused by the homeowner’s ill-fated attempt to clear a snake infestation by smoking them out, according to local fire officials.
According to a tweet from Pete Piringer, public information officer for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, an investigation revealed that the fire on Big Woods Road near Poolesville on Nov. 23 was accidentally caused when the anti-snake smoke source — coals — came too close to combustibles.
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
The fire started in the basement walls and floors and then spread upward, eventually causing over $1 million in damages.
Neighbors saw and reported the fire; nobody was injured.
“It is believed that the heat source was too close to the combustibles and caused fire in the walls and ceiling area, unknown and unbeknownst to the homeowner at that time,” Piringer said, describing the destroyed building as a “very large home.”
“The snakes — the original culprits of this process — which the homeowner was trying to eradicate from this space using smoke apparently did not go as planned,” Piringer said in a recorded statement on Dec. 3.