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Top Photo: photo courtesy of Phoenix Fire Dept.

A blazing house fire wasn’t all that Phoenix fire-fighters encountered on May 16. The also faced snakes—hundreds of ’em!!!

The house was in Laveen near South Mountain, so both the Phoenix Fire Dept. and the Laveen Fire District responded to the blaze.

“The first units arrived on scene and found a pretty well-involved house—meaning a lot of the house was on fire—a lot of it was up in the attic,” recalls Capt. Greg Hawk, one of the responders. “Winds were pushing smoke down around access points, like where the doors were, so it was difficult. Once firefighters got in there, there was really no visibility and a lot of fire.”

Firefighters went in to make sure no one was still in the burning home. While they gave the all-clear that no one was inside, what they didn’t know was the house was full of snakes, lizards, a couple cats, some dogs and even really big tortoises!

“Once when we started getting water on the fire, we were able to get some of the heat and smoke pushed outside. Some of the firefighters saw the reptiles—some snakes had escaped and gotten out and some of them were on the ground. There were some still in cages,” Capt. Hawk shares.

About 40 firefighters were on hand with seven or eight trucks. To try and save as many creatures as possible, about a dozen bravely stayed inside to fight the fire, some pulling down chunks of ceiling while others doused the flames. Others had their hands full picking up loose snakes and putting them into buckets to be taken to safety! None of these slithering serpents were venomous, but the firefighters didn’t know that, according to Capt. Hawk.

Hundreds of snakes were rescued, from babies to big boa constrictors and pythons. Sadly, not all the serpents survived the intense heat. The battalion chiefs at the fire called the Humane Society, which called the Phoenix Herpetological Society. Their workers rounded up the rest of the reptiles and gave emergency care to the ones that needed it.

Capt. Hawk says the large-scale reptile rescue made him proud. “All the trucks that were there from multiple departments did a great job,” he notes.

British Prime Minister Steps Down!

Theresa May, the United Kingdom Prime MinisterTheresa May, the United Kingdom Prime Minister, announced her resignation as head of the Conservative Party last month, effective June 7.

May, who has served as prime minister since July 2016, said she would continue serving as the prime minister until a new Conservative leader is selected—something the party hopes to do by the end of July.

During her resignation speech, May said she was leaving with “no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.” She also pointed out that she was “the second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.”

While May was successful in some ways, she will unfortunately probably be  most remembered for her inability to reach  a deal on Brexit—the shorthand term for Britain leaving the European Union (EU) formed by merging the words Britain and exit.

Citizens of the United Kingdom voted back in June 2016 to leave the EU. The EU is an economic and  political partnership involving 28 European countries that was started after World War II. Votes to leave reached almost 52 percent. But the process of how to best separate from the EU has stirred up controversy.

The next leader of the Conservative Party, who will serve as the prime minister, will have to step into the Brexit mess quickly and try to reach a resolution by an Oct. 31 deadline. Twelve members of parliament have already expressed their interest in the job and more people may still step forward.

In addition to attempting to reach a Brexit deal, the prime minister is ultimately responsible for the policy and decisions of the government. The role also involves overseeing the operation of the Civil Service and government agencies, appointing government representatives and serving as the principal government figure in the House of Commons.

June 2019