A Rancho Penasquitos man is recovering on Monday from a rattlesnake bite that occurred inside his condominium.
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Forty-year-old Kenny Ngo is reported in fair condition at Pomerado Medical Center after he was rushed there by paramedics just before noon.
"When the paramedics took him away, he was unconscious. [They] left with full-on lights and sirens," said neighbor Eileen Pogue.
Firefighters told 10News that Ngo was barefoot when he walked into his kitchen. The snake slithered up behind him and bit him on the right heel.
"I don't believe he saw the snake," said San Diego Fire-Rescue medic Mitchell Brasga. "He just felt a bite and then noticed the snake on the floor."
Brasga was one of the emergency responders who tended to Ngo moments after he was bitten. He said Ngo's reaction was severe and instant.
"Almost like tremors or shaking and it did affect his speech a little bit," said Brasga.
The bite came from a baby rattlesnake, which cannot control the amount of venom it releases.
Brasga said Monday's incident is the third rattlesnake bite he has been called to in the last four months. He believes it is a sign of what is to come.
"With the warmer weather, it's going to become more pervasive," he said.
The condo complex where the bite occurred is located just south of state Route 56 and west of Interstate 15. The area is a perfect setting for a nest of snakes because of the heavy brush, trees and open spaces.
"This time of the year, the snakes, when they hatch..., they're looking for a cool place to hide and a lot of these condos are very cool because of tree cover," said neighbor Randy Pogue.
Another neighbor said he captured a baby rattlesnake last year and turned it over to the condo maintenance staff. No one was hurt during that incident.
10News contacted San Diego County officials and asked if this is early in the year or possibly the start of a heavy season for snakebites but was told no one keeps those records.
Several neighbors told 10News they were checking under their sinks and making sure the windows and doors were shut tightly.
Brasga offered these words of advice for San Diegans.
"Just be aware of your environment and watch where you step and watch where you reach
even in areas that you are very familiar with that you would never expect to see a snake," he said.
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