A firefighter put his reptile-handling experience to good use when he rescued a seven-foot-long boa constrictor from a burning house in western Michigan.

Muskegon firefighter Scott Hemmelsbach told a local newspaper that he reluctantly agreed to enter the smoke-filled house Sunday night to retrieve the pet snake, a female named Chocolate Chip.

“It was trying to crawl up the side of his terrarium and get out,” Hemmelsbach said. “There was a lot of smoke, and he was trapped.”

When Hemmelsbach reached the snake, he handled her gingerly so as not to scare the reptile. The firefighter said he learned how to handle snakes in wildlife classes he had taken in high school.

The snake “became very active, and I was glad because that meant that he was okay,” Hemmelsbach said.

Chocolate Chip’s owners escaped the blaze without injury, fire officials said.

“I would do it for any creature,” Hemmelsbach said. “I’m just glad it had a happy ending.”

— Wire reports