First published in the Jan. 29 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Some cold-blooded pets received a warm rescue this week from the Glendale Fire Department.
Firefighters saved a number of reptiles — five snakes, a rhinoceros iguana and an Asian water monitor — in addition to an aquarium of fish after responding to a fire at a detached garage on Fairesta Street in La Crescenta on Thursday morning. The rescue garnered appreciation on social media, after the fire department shared photos of oxygen masks being strapped to the faces of the iguana and monitor.
“We have oxygen masks for animals. We had that on-scene and we were able to utilize it,” Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas said in an interview. “They’re actually made for dogs and cats, but they actually fit quite well over the snout of the larger reptiles. They seemed to react well to the oxygen after being in that smoke-filled condition, so we consider that a save.”
Lanzas said crews arrived to a moderate smoke situation that morning. Firefighters launched an offensive fire attack with simultaneous rooftop operations to vent the smoke and also began searching the garage, where the pets were located. The homeowner assisted in handling the reptiles.
The fire was contained and extinguished in fairly rapid order, Lanzas said, and they were still investigating its origin. The blaze caused around $15,000 in damage, mostly confined to one portion of the garage and its attic.
All the scaly pets survived the fire.
GFD has animal oxygen masks in each of its frontline fire units, a feat made possible by city funding and other donors. Lanzas noted that this was not his first fire response involving reptiles.
“I don’t know if anyone on-scene had any before, but in my career, I’ve had quite a few, believe it or not,” he said. “As you move into the desert areas, they get more common. As you move into the High Desert or Coachella Valley, they become pretty well-known pets.”