MUSKEGON, Mich. - A firefighter put his reptile-handling experience to good use when he rescued a 6-foot-long python from a burning home in western Michigan.

Muskegon firefighter Scott Hemmelsbach tells The Muskegon Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1jQ2Vbf) he reluctantly agreed to enter the two-story, smoke-filled house Sunday night to retrieve the snake. He says he cradled the "weighty" snake before carrying it to safety.

Hemmelsbach says the snake was trying to get out of its terrarium when he grabbed it.

The firefighter learned how to handle snakes at Grand Haven High School, where he helped showcase them to elementary students. Of the rescue, he says he "would do it for any creature" and that he's glad there was a happy ending.

The fire significantly damaged the home, and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.