Firefighters had the shock of their lives when they were called to a flat fire ... coming face-to-face with a 6ft boa constrictor.

The Cleckheaton crew was called to the flat in the Hightown area of Liversedge just before 9am today (Monday) and had to break in to put the blaze out.

They rescued a dog and then spotted an animal in a large box.

As they lifted it, the bottom fell out and the snake fell to the floor.

Neighbours helped the crew by getting the snake into a wash basket with a lid on and both animals were checked over by the RSPCA.

Watch Manager Dave Rawnsley said it was lucky the doors were closed in the flat otherwise the dog would have been overcome by the smoke and may well have died.

He added: “Closed doors are a very simple yet effective way to hold back heat and smoke. The fire was in the living-room and the dog was in the hallway. If the doors had been left open the dog may not have survived.”