Thousands of snakes, family displaced by house fire in Brighton

BRIGHTON, Colo. - Thousands of reptiles and seven people were displaced when a large single-family home in Brighton caught fire early Thursday morning.

Firefighters were sent to the home near East 144th Avenue and Umpire Court at approximately 4:32 a.m. They could see the smoke before they even arrived.

Two adults and five children got out safely, according to the Red Cross. Firefighters say they helped get two of those people out, including the homeowner.

"I could see windows covered in flames. I couldn't even see the house. It looked like a movie, I didn't think it was real," said Samantha Lamb, who lives in the home.

After everyone was out, firefighters say crews were able to start dousing the flames. It wasn't fully extinguished until about an hour after the first fire engine arrived.

Because there were no hydrants nearby, Brighton Fire Department Chief Mark Bodane said water had to be shuttled in.

The family used the home for a reptile business, and kept the animals in the basement of the home. Most of the snakes survived the fire and were being moved to a barn on another part of the property.

The family's five dogs did not survive, however.

"They love animals, it's crazy how much they love them," Lamb said.

 "This was unique and we're literally talking about hundreds of reptiles that are worth a lot of money," Bodane said. "Thankfully most were caged, [we] only had a few loose snakes to deal with  -- but they were also aggressive. Apparently some breeds are more aggressive than others."

No humans were injured in the fire, but the residents have been displaced. The Red Cross is assisting them and questions about helping the family can be directed to 1-800-733-2767.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

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