Tortoise rescued in fire drama

Karl Lyon with his pet tortoise, Sherman
Karl Lyon with his pet tortoise, Sherman

A quick-thinking teenager helped save the life of a shell-shocked pet tortoise after a light in its enclosure sparked a fire.

Emergency crews were called to Bishop Road, Dentons Green, shortly before 8pm on Saturday (October 5) after Karl Lyon, 14, suddenly sniffed a strong smell of smoke.

When the Sutton Academy schoolboy’s grandfather, John, went to investigate he found that the front room - which houses Sherman the pet tortoise - was “totally filled with thick black smoke”.

Crews from St Helens and Eccleston fire stations were then dispatched to scene and emerged from the smoke-filled property with the stricken animal - before paramedics gave it oxygen to help combat the effects of smoke inhalation.

Mr Lyon said: “We were just sat watching Wigan and Warrington when Karl said he smelt smoke. If it wasn’t for him it could have been a lot worse.

“I put a damp towel over my head and went in to try to open the window and switch off the light at the wall. I just about managed to open the window but couldn’t breathe and my eyes were on fire.

“Karl called 999 and the firefighters were here in a matter of minutes. To my amazement, one of them then walked out with the tortoise in his hands.

“Sherman was very black and must have been struggling with his chest because when the paramedics gave me oxygen, believe it or not, they gave the tortoise some as well!

“He looked like he needed it too because he kept sticking his head up for more. For all we know he might have been sat in there inhaling smoke for half an hour.

Sherman the tortoise has been a fixture in John Lyon’s home for the last 12 years, after being bought for John’s daughter, Gemma.

He had been kept in a special tortoise vivarium in the front room but, for the time being, is having to make do with a cardboard box.

Thankfully, he is now none the worse for his ordeal.

John Lyon, 67, added: “Me and Karl both went to Whiston Hospital for check-ups but I think Karl was a bit upset that me and the tortoise were both given air but he wasn’t! I’m just relieved nobody was badly hurt and, of course, that the tortoise survived.”