More than two dozen large tortoises were shell-shocked Wednesday morning when the building in which they were temporarily housed caught fire this week.
Lodi Fire Department responded to the report of a fire on Maggio Circle at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday.
Battalion Chief Tim Ortegel said when firefighters arrived on scene, they found light smoke coming from Suite C of a multiple-unit building.
“The Serpentarium uses it for storage, but they also had about a dozen tortoises inside on an upper mezzanine,” Ortegel said. “Something caught fire between the mezzanine and the first floor, and it began burning the structure and the sawdust the tortoises were on.”
One of the tortoises fell on the first floor, but Ortegel said it wasn’t injured and is expected to survive.
Crews were on scene for more than two hours, removing the sawdust and salvaging materials damaged by water.
“It was kind of tough getting the tortoises out because some of them are quite large,” Ortegel said. “But we managed to get them all out in two truck loads.”
According to a social media post made by a Serpentarium employee’s relative, the tortoises were moved to an open space area in town.
Surrounding suites were not damaged, Ortegel said, but the suite damaged is not suitable for occupancy.