Giovani: Domestic Tortoise, Alleged Arsonist


Fire marshals think they know what sparked the blaze that burned down the Salem family's apartment in Bay Ridge: Giovani, the family's nefarious pet tortoise. They believe the fast-moving fire that injured a firefighter and three cops started when Giovani, a six-year-old African spurred sulcata tortoise, escaped from his plastic tank Sunday afternoon. The spiteful beast willfully tipped it over, sending the heat lamp to the floor. That in turn ignited a pile of art supplies, including paint thinner. Fire marshals know an arsonist when they see one. But the Salems remain unconvinced. Mohamed, the 18-year-old son who keeps Giovani's tank in his bedroom, told the New York Post, "I don't think he could have done it." His father, Ibrahim, who emigrated from Egypt 22 years ago, was even more unwilling to believe their treasured pet was capable of true evil.

"How he make the fire?" he asked, while patting Giovani's shell and tickling his feet.

Inside his little turtle head, Giovani laughed. Maniacally.

Inferno was hot as shell [NYP]