CLEARFIELD — Firefighters knocked a small kitchen fire down in five minutes Friday, but when they were done they found 28 snakes, including six venomous animals, which are illegal to own in Utah.
Firefighters responded to smoke coming from a duplex near 900 East and 1100 South at 11:07 a.m. Friday. The fire was contained to a kitchen and was put out in five minutes, according to Mark Becraft, North Davis Fire District chief.
Among the snakes was a gaboon viper, an extremely deadly snake out of Africa, and five rattlesnakes. The nearest anti-venom treatment for the gaboon viper is in Florida, said Davis County Animal Control Officer Jamie Stell.
The homeowner told authorities he had purchased the viper on the Internet.
Utah law requires a permit to own venomous snakes and those permits are only granted for specific reasons such as education, research and rehabilitation, said Clint Thacker, director of Davis County Animal Control.
Other snakes found in the apartment include two pythons, which are allowed in Utah, and 20 other snakes. They pythons were 10 feet long and 15 feet long, respectively. The owner was allowed to keep all but the venomous snakes, Thacker said.
However, the Division of Wildlife Resources is looking at possible charges for possession of the venomous snakes. Animal control may also take some action for having too many animals in the house, or possession of wild or dangerous animals, Thacker said.
The wildlife division took the venomous snakes, Thacker said.
“He (the snakes’ owner) had a very professional set up,” Thacker said.