LAVEEN, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Phoenix firefighters got quite the surprise on Thursday when they responded to a fire at a house full of snakes, other reptiles and animals.
Capt. Greg Hawk of the Phoenix Fire Department said he and other firefighters were “bit” with a big element of shock when they realized the home near 67th Avenue and Baseline Road was filled with hundreds of these creatures.
“It was honestly like a movie,” said Hawk said to Arizona's Family on Sunday. “It really hit us that we were walking around with snakes and lizards and everything else.”
Hawk continued with sharing some of the highlights of the bizarre mission.
“We were looking at each other, going ‘this is crazy!’ There were literally firefighters fighting fire, squirting water on the fire," he said. "And guys next to them picking up snakes and putting them in buckets trying to get them outside.”
[ORIGINAL STORY: House full of snakes catches fire in Laveen]
The firefighters had to change the way they fought the fire since so many reptiles were in the home.
Instead of fighting the fire defensively from the outside, they took the riskier approach by battling the flames offensively from inside to save as many reptiles as they could.
“We just knew we had to do what we could to protect the animals, and get the fire out,” said Hawk.
He says it’s the kind of call that will leave a memorable mark.
“I mean, we see crazy stuff," said Hawk. "And this was outside of the box crazy for us!”
In addition to saving snakes, the firefighters rescued several different lizards, tortoises and even a couple of dogs and cats.
The Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary came to help remove the reptiles and is now caring for them.
None of the snakes were venomous.