An electric blanket wrapped snugly around a pet turtle's shelter overheated and caused a fire in an apartment early Thursday that drove a family of three into subzero cold, fire officials said.
The blaze caused about $3,000 in smoke damage to the apartment. The only casualty was the turtle, named Timmy, which apparently died of smoke inhalation.
Sanford Fire Capt. Robert Frechette said the Dennis Benoit family had the turtle in a metal tray on the living room floor. "The father said it was so cold out they were afraid the turtle would freeze, so they wrapped the electric blanket around the tray."
A smoke detector alerted the Benoits to the fire and they escaped unharmed.