According to USA Today, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service rescued the 45-year-old reptile from a home in the city of Essex. Coincidentally, it was discovered that the tortoise started the fire by accidentally knocking over his heat lamp which ignited his bedding. Neighbors alerted emergency responders after hearing the smoke alarms. When firefighters arrived, they extinguished the flames and saw the tortoise at the scene.
The fire captain of the Great Dunmow Fire Station, Gary Wain, says that this incident proves why functioning smoke alarms are important.
"Even if you're not home, they will alert anyone close by to the first sign of fire," Wain said in a statement. "This tortoise has had a very lucky Christmas Day – he is 45 years young and will now hopefully continue to live a long and happy life thanks to working smoke alarms."
When the fire department shared an image of the tortoise on Facebook, users couldn't help but notice that his less-than-pleased expression.
"This 45 year old tortoise might look angry but it's his lucky day," the caption reads.
The tortoise's screw face has become a social media sensation, fueling memes and playful theories that the fire might not have been an accident.