Lodi firefighters save dozen large turtles from pet store fire


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LODI, Calif. (KTXL) – A dozen large turtles are on their way to a new home after Lodi firefighters rescue them.

“We were sent out on a structure fire and we didn’t know when we showed up, we had 12 giant tortoises we needed to save,” said BC Ortegel of the Lodi Fire Department.

The Lodi location of the Serpentarium, a chain of pet reptile stores, rents part of the building.

The animals were stored on an elevated mezzanine and firefighters discovered the turtles needed help.

“Two of them had fallen through the ground where it had burned, so two of them were injured,” said Ortegel. “Some of them seemed to be a little in shock from the smoke.”

Rescued African turtle species can grow up to 200 pounds and over three feet wide.

“Yes, they weren’t that small, they were very big, some weighed over 150 pounds,” Ortegel said.

To move the animals, two firefighters were needed to place them on a van.

Some of Lodi’s firefighters who dislike snakes and reptiles have already discussed the possibility of being needed in a place like the Serpentarium.

“They always said ‘Yeah, if we ever have to answer this place, I’m not going in,’” Ortegel said with a chuckle.

The owners of the Serpentarium told FOX40 that they and their turtles are on their way to a new home in Texas and will soon be living outside on an area of ​​33 acres.

“They’ve all been successful and they’re all enjoying the outdoor life now,” Ortegel said.


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