Firefighter who rescued 6-foot python*: ‘I would do it for any creature’

"It wasn’t something any of the Muskegon firefighters were anxious to do when their boss asked them to rescue a huge python from a burning Muskegon home Sunday evening, March 30.

But Firefighter Scott Hemmelsbach, who had experience handling the reptiles, reluctantly agreed to go into the two-story, smoke-filled house on Catherine Street and rescue the 6-foot python from its terrarium.

“It was trying to crawl up the side of his terrarium and get out. His face was pushed up on the screen and trying to get out. There was a lot of smoke and he was trapped,” Hemmelsbach said. 

“I removed the screen off the top and knew to approach it by coming up behind his head. He became very active, and I was glad because that meant that he was OK.”


“With my left hand, I secured his head and then I just scooped him up with my right arm and cradled him in my chest and took him over to Canteen 450 where there was a very happy reunion,” he said. “I would do it for any creature. I’m just glad it had a happy ending.”

*this was not a python, but a Boa Constrictor