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January 16, 2008 > Firefighters save 4-foot pet alligator

Firefighters save 4-foot pet alligator

WEST WYOMING, Pa. (AP), Jan 05 _ A 4-foot long pet alligator was rescued from a smoky house fire in Luzerne County by a firefighter and the reptile's owner.

The 8-year-old alligator, named Fat Boy, was locked inside its first-floor cage when the fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. Friday.

Fred Sokoloski, 32, and his wife, Kelly, 30, rushed out of the burning house and told firefighters about their trapped pet.

Mike Kuharchik, fire chief for West Wyoming Hose Co. No. 2, said the floor began to collapse when he cut the cage's lock and Sokoloski wrapped the alligator in a blanket and ran outside.

Fat Boy's enclosure contained a pool of water that was near boiling, Sokoloski said.

``He (Sokoloski) had the floor strengthened to support the weight of the pool,'' Kuharchik said. ``If it wasn't for those supports, the floor would have collapsed.''

One firefighter was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released.

Sokoloski and his wife were staying with family. Fat Boy was placed in a neighbor's whirlpool tub.

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Information from: Times Leader, http://www.timesleader.com

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