The National Fire Protection Association states that fireplaces, chimneys, and vents should be inspected once a year. According to news stories from all around the world, it should be much more frequent than that.
One man from Lufkin, Texas received a house call at around 2:30 a.m. on July 12, but not from a friendly face. After hearing a “clunk” in his fireplace as he was heading to bed, Gary Antley was stunned to discover a six-foot snake had slithered down his chimney and gotten stuck behind his glass fire-door. Naturally, Gary grabbed his camera and filmed the reptile’s extraction, first using tongs and then his bare hands to remove it from its prison.
After posting the video to Facebook, the snake was identified as a non-venomous Texas rat snake, some of which have been known to get up to 7.2 feet long. The Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Center explained the occurrence.
“Texas rat snakes are excellent climbers and there have been occasional reports of Texas rat snakes climbing the sides of brick walls on buildings. This can be the result of the snake detecting the presence of rodents, which often seek shelter in attics.”
Maybe chimney protection and inspection will be a little higher up on Gary’s to-do list in the future.
Across the world, a sweeter creature (less scaly, more furry) was found in a similar situation. After residents of a southwest China apartment building heard whimpering coming from the narrow chimney chute that runs from the first and seconds floors. Firemen were called in to investigate, and discovered a three-month-old puppy that had accidentally fallen into the vertical pipe.
“All openings between the kitchen stove and chimney have been completely sealed off during previous construction work in the apartment. Therefore, the dog was completely trapped in a dead end,” the fire department stated.
Luckily, the tiny pup was freed within 10 minutes of the firemen’s arrival, as they were able to punch a hole in the concrete wall small enough for him to escape.
Sneaky snakes and sweet pups have already been covered; let’s talk about people! A 23-year-old man from Mira Mesa needed to call the San Diego Police Department when he became trapped in his own house’s chimney. Apparently, he had gotten into an argument with his parents who had then proceeded to lock him out of the home. His solution was clearly not very well thought out — after 45 minutes of “rescue,” he emerged from his own personal prison covered in soot and was rushed to the hospital to make sure he hadn’t hurt his body as much as his pride.
There you have it. Make sure you check your chimney out — and clean it — more than the recommended amount; you never know what’s going to come falling down it!