Oro Valley woman, shopping, meets rattlesnake

August 1, 2004 at 6:03PM MST
Nancy Perla Reports

Oro Valley woman, shopping, meets rattlesnake

One typically imagines rattlesnakes living in natural environments, but, a 36-year-old Oro Valley woman says she was bitten in her local Home Depot store.

Snakes were responsible for 5,000 emergency calls in 2003 to the Rural Metro Fire Department.

This week, Rural Metro dealt with one unusual call from the Home Depot Garden Center at Oracle and First in Oro Valley. 

An emergency crew had to rush the woman to Northwest Hospital for a rattlesnake bite.  She says the encounter happened inside Home Depot.

"A lot of our area here in the metropolitan Tucson area is kind of rural in naturem and this is a part of our environment," said District Chief George Good of Rural Metro Fire Department.

In response to the snake-bite situation, Home Depot said Sunday, "We're trying to follow through to see where this snake came from and check out the validity of this claim with the local police."

"I'm surprised," mused Christine McGarvey, shopping at Home Depot's Garden Center.  "I've lived in Arizona my whole life, and I've probably seen two rattlers - hiking in the state park - so, it's amazing that somebody would get bit at a Home Depot here!"

Oro Valley Police call this "an open case."

They add, "We have seen rattlesnakes in that parking lot before and the store backs up to the Canyon del Oro wash."

Rural Metro recommends, if you're near a garden during rattlesnake season, watch your step and wear closed-toed shoes.

"You want to just take a rake or a shovel to make sure it's safe to work in there so you don't have any surprises," Good said.

Because the investigation into the snakebite is ongoing, the name of the victim cannot be released to the public. 

But, Oro Valley Police say they've heard the victim was treated with anti-venin and released from Northwest Hospital.

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