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Tortoise blamed for Christmas house fire in England

Officials say he knocked heat lamp onto bedding

DUTON HILL, England (CNN) - You'd think a 45-year-old would know better than to knock a hot object onto his bed.

But a grumpy-looking tortoise apparently named Victor is being blamed for doing that and starting a fire at his human's home in Duton Hill, Essex, in England.

Fire officials there say the tortoise knocked a heat lamp onto its bedding, which then caught on fire. The tortoise was unable to call 999, but neighbors heard smoke alarms and called emergency services.

Crews were on-call -- at home with their families -- and rushed to the station, then to the house.

They kept the fire to one room, and Victor, who must have stayed low to the ground in the smoke-filled home, was saved. And the fire was put out quickly.

A Christmas miracle!

"This tortoise has had a very lucky Christmas Day -- he is 45 years young and will now hopefully continue to live a long and happy life thanks to working smoke alarms," the fire department proudly exclaimed on social media.

Among the comments on the fire department's Facebook page were a couple from Elyse Steel Sowerby, who said the creature is hers.

He "goes by the name of VICTOR I am extremely grateful of all the crews hard work xxx," she wrote. Later she added, "I honeslty dont know what I would do with out him he really is my best friend your team are amazing merry Christmas xxx."

The department replied: "Ahh we should have guessed as much! You are more than welcome - we are just glad to have helped you get a happy ending this Christmas."

It also confirmed to another commenter the fire began when a heat lamp met hay.

The tortoise was unavailable for comment.


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