Three residents and their three dogs were displaced Friday morning when a blaze erupted in the garage of a home in unincorporated El Cajon, killing dozens of snakes, lizards and rats that were kept in the garage, authorities said. Photo via OnScene.TV.

Three residents and three dogs were displaced this morning when a blaze erupted in the garage of a home in unincorporated El Cajon, killing about 100 snakes that were kept in the garage and causing an estimated $350,000 in damage.

The blaze was reported around 5:45 a.m. at the single-story house on Pepper Hill Drive, between Sterling and Terrace Hill drives in the Bostonia area north of El Cajon, said Heartland Fire & Rescue spokesman Sonny Saghera.

Crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the garage, Saghera said. Firefighters knocked down the flames within 20 minutes, but the home sustained smoke and heat damage, including in the attic.

One resident was inside the home when the fire started, but was awakened by one of his dogs and was able to escape unharmed, the spokesman said.

Inside the garage, firefighters discovered about 100 dead snakes, Saghera said.

The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents arrange for temporary lodging, Saghera said. The San Diego Humane Society was called to the scene to take custody of a 10-foot snake, two tortoises and several rats that escaped the fire unharmed.

The cause of the blaze — which caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the home’s structure and an estimated $150,000 to its contents — was under investigation, Saghera said.

Updated at 10:40 a.m. Jan, 8, 2021

–City News Service

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