Tortoises’ Heating Pad Blamed for California Garage Fire

February 23, 2012

Authorities are blaming a garage fire in Castro Valley, Calif., on a heating pad used to keep a pair of tortoises warm.

The fire began around 3 a.m. Tuesday in a detached garage in a residential neighborhood and took about ten minutes to put out. Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Dan O’Hara says it appears an electrical malfunction in the heating pad caused the blaze.

The two African tortoises, each about 3 feet in diameter, escaped unharmed.

A firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at a hospital and released.

The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damage.

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