Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Flames of passion for tortoises

Two tortoises are thought to have started a fire that destroyed a conservatory in Stockton-on-Tees

Two raunchy reptiles are being blamed for starting a fire that destroyed their owner's conservatory and led to their own demise.

Henry the tortoise, who had just awoken from hibernation, had only one thing on his mind as he emerged from his den - his mate Alice.

But tragically as the lascivious male pursued his lover around their nest, it is thought he knocked over a heater which set fire to wood shavings.

The blaze destroyed the conservatory of Alf and Gayner Clayton, from Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, who had to run out of the house to escape.

Mr Clayton, who said the fire also damaged their garage and car, believed the amorous pair probably died from smoke inhalation.

He told the Evening Gazette: "Henry had woken up and was trying to mate with his partner.

"He always was a bit of a one and had chased her around and must have knocked the heater over."

The couple said they did their best to save their beloved pets after a neighbour spotted smoke coming out of the garage.

But neither pensioner could save them and fire crews were called to put out the blaze, which happened on Saturday night.

A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokesman said two engines were sent to the incident.

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