ELEVEN reptiles have died after fire broke out at a Wearside house.
It happened in a vivarium at the back of a house in Acacia Avenue, Fencehouses, on Sunday afternoon.
The building housed 12 reptiles, all between three and four feet in length.
One animal was rescued, but the other 11 perished.
The owner of the house said he was “too upset” to speak about the blaze when contacted by the Echo today.
A man aged 43 who lives in Acacia Avenue, but did not want to be named, said: “The fire was out the back where the reptile house is.
“The people who live there breed them for their shop.
“The fire service were there for about three hours trying to put it out and there was a lot of smoke.
“I think the fire started because of something to do with a heater.”
Firefighter Ian Black, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “On arrival, there was smoke coming out of the shed which was used as a vivarium to keep reptiles.
“Crews used one hose reel and breathing apparatus to enter the shed and also used a positive pressure ventilation fan to remove smoke from the building.
“Sadly, 11 reptiles perished in the fire and we were able to rescue one.”
Officers were called out to the fire shortly before 5pm on Sunday.