Three adults and four kids, ages 5 through 13, escaped from a house fire Tuesday afternoon in central Tacoma. So did the family pets -- two dogs, and a python named Trouble.
Anjanette Reeder, who lived in the house, said she was preparing to "do some last minute stuff for Christmas" when her daughter ran up to her and shouted, "Mom, we've gotta go!"
Reeder, who lived in the house with her daughter and brother, said the fire appeared to have started in the garage.
"When we came out, there was black smoke everywhere," she said.
Reeder said everyone -- including other children and adults who were visiting when the fire broke out -- escaped safely.
Once outside, the family's two dogs were herded into a car while more than 20 Tacoma firefighters worked to douse the flames and ventilate smoke through the roof of the single-story rental home.
But Reeder waited and worried about her pet python. She was certain the reptile had perished in its terrarium, which remained inside the house.
But eventually a firefighter emerged from the home with Trouble's terrarium in tow. Reeder reached in and grabbed the snake and seemed happy and relieved when it moved. A neighbor offered to take Trouble to her house.
Tacoma Fire Department spokesman Joe Meinecke said the fire, in a house near the intersection of South 25th and South State streets, was reported about 12:45 p.m. He described the interior of the house as "heavily damaged," and said damage to the building and contents were estimated at $116,000.
He said a fire investigator determined that the cause of the blaze was a child with a lighter who ignited combustible material.
He said the fire department would contact the Red Cross for relocation help for the family.