45-year-old pet tortoise sparks Christmas Day house fire in England, authorities say

Officials believe an unlikely culprit was behind a Christmas Day house fire in the United Kingdom – a 45-year-old pet tortoise.

According to the Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, firefighters responded Wednesday afternoon to a home in Great Dunmow, England, after neighbors reported hearing a smoke alarm. Authorities quickly discovered and put out a fire in one of the rooms by 4:50 p.m., officials said in a news release.

Great Dunmow Fire Station Watch Manager Gary Wain said in a statement that a tortoise had "knocked a heat lamp onto its bedding, which then caught alight." Rescuers saved the reptile, named Victor, CNN reported.

"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," Wain said, according to the news release.

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