Out of the ashes: 2 box turtles rescued from fire sparked by town house blaze

WASHINGTON — These little guys must have been shellshocked.

The consequences of a large fire that engulfed several town houses under construction in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Wednesday could have been much worse. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries — and two eastern box turtles caught in the flames’ path were saved.

Two eastern box turtles would have been toast were it not for the quick thinking of Park Ranger Michael Ellis. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
Two eastern box turtles would have been toast were it not for the quick thinking of park ranger Michael Ellis. (Courtesy Michael Ellis) (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
"I managed to move two turtles to safety before the flames engulfed the forest at the end of Aerospace Road and Forbes Boulevard," Ellis said in a news release. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
“I managed to move two turtles to safety before the flames engulfed the forest at the end of Aerospace Road and Forbes Boulevard,” Ellis said in a news release. (Courtesy Michael Ellis) (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
Two eastern box turtles were saved from a fire Wednesday by a Park Ranger. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
The turtles were moved to a safe area while firefighters battled the blaze. (Courtesy Michael Ellis) (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
Brush fires were sparked by the massive blaze hundreds of yards away. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
Brush fires were sparked by the massive blaze hundreds of yards away. (Courtesy Michael Ellis) (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
The cause of the fire in Prince George's County, Maryland, remains unknown. (Courtesy Prince George's Fire and EMS)
The cause of the fire in Prince George’s County, Maryland, remains unknown. (Courtesy Prince George’s Fire and EMS) (Courtesy Prince George's Fire and EMS)
Estimates put the damage cost at $8.9 million. (Courtesy Alan Doubleday on-board PGPD Air 1) (Courtesy Alan Doubleday on-board PGPD Air 1)
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Two eastern box turtles would have been toast were it not for the quick thinking of Park Ranger Michael Ellis. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
"I managed to move two turtles to safety before the flames engulfed the forest at the end of Aerospace Road and Forbes Boulevard," Ellis said in a news release. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
Two eastern box turtles were saved from a fire Wednesday by a Park Ranger. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
Brush fires were sparked by the massive blaze hundreds of yards away. (Courtesy Michael Ellis)
The cause of the fire in Prince George's County, Maryland, remains unknown. (Courtesy Prince George's Fire and EMS)

The two reptiles were discovered by Park Ranger Michael Ellis, who spotted them while surveying the area around the fast-moving fire in Lanham.

“I managed to move two turtles to safety before the flames engulfed the forest at the end of Aerospace Road and Forbes Boulevard,” Ellis said in a news release.

“Hopefully no people or creatures were harmed in [Wednesday’s] massively destructive fire!”

Eastern box turtles are known to live for dozens of years, and they inhabit a relatively small territory during that time.

According to Prince George’s Fire and EMS, the cause of the blaze remains unknown but damage from the fire is estimated at $8.9 million.

There is no word on whether the turtles were teenagers, mutants or were considering fighting crime.


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