Firefighters rescue lizard from car
Published: March 12, 2007 | 5759th good news item since 2003
When Luca the lucky lizard went walkabout in her owner’s car, she could not have imagined the trouble she would cause.
Luca’s owner, Andrea Smith, and daughter, Chelsea, were driving the water dragon back from a pet shop after stocking up on some of her favourite food, including mice, when she decided to go for a wander.
In one quick move the pesky pet, which is a foot-and-half long, managed to jump off Chelsea, 17, and into the footwell of the car where she tucked herself out of reach by climbing behind the console and wrapped herself around the gear stick.
Mrs Smith pulled the car over to the side of the road, fearful she would crush her beloved Luca – who was named after Chelsea FC legend Gianluca Vialli.
Although she could see the end of Luca’s tail, not even a couple of wax worms could tempt her from the new nest and Mrs Smith decided to call for help.
Breakdown company The AA told her they could not deal with “livestock” so she reluctantly decided to call 999 and a firecrew from Chelmsford were despatched to Roman Road, Chelmsford on Saturday afternoon.
But just before they arrived a traffic warden wandered past and was preparing to swoop when Mrs Smith told him: “I know you are about to give me a ticket, but I have a dragon stuck in my gear box”.
He relented and the fire crew arrived and soon got to work and after five minutes of pushing, pulling and unscrewing they uncovered Luca.
Luca, who is about two-and-a-half years old, made a final dash for freedom but was finally grabbed by a firefighter sat in the driver’s seat.
Yesterday in Writtle, near Chelmsford, she was back in her viquaruium , which combines land and water, along with pal Lulu, another water dragon.
Mrs Smith, who is a service engineer, said she was grateful to the firefighters who stopped Luca’s luck from running out.
She said: “I could have killed Chelsea – bits of dragon in your gearbox cannot be good for anything.
“I took the guys chocolates and a thank you card as if it had not been for them, she would have been killed – they totally and utterly rescued her and me, as I would have been at the mercy of my bosses as it is a company car.”
Sub officer Andy Harding from Chelmsford fire station said: “Luckily the lizard was tame and so when we loosened off the plastic console cover where it was hiding we were able to reach in and grab hold of it.”
Luca was unharmed by her ordeal just after 12.30pm on Saturday and was reunited with her rescuers yesterday.