Va. firefighters rescue animals during zoo fire
Fire in the Metro Richmond Zoo's workshop quickly spread to the animal hospital and feed storage room
By David Matthews
New York Daily News
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — One meerkat died and several other animals were hurt in a fire at a Virginia zoo on Sunday night.
A Metro Richmond Zoo employee reported a fire in the behind-the-scenes area of the park around 9:50 p.m., the zoo said in a Facebook post.
Chesterfield County Fire and EMS responded and found several buildings on fire. The blaze was extinguished quickly.
“The fire began in the zoo’s workshop area and quickly spread to the animal hospital, feed storage room and zookeeper service area,” the zoo stated. “The structures are completely destroyed. We are setting up temporary workspaces to maintain animal care and will rebuild the structures as soon as possible.”
A barrier at the kangaroo habitat was also damaged but the animals were not harmed and a temporary fence has been installed, the institution added.
“There were ten animals in the buildings that caught on fire,” zoo director Jim Andelin said in a Monday statement. “Through heroic efforts of firefighters and zoo staff, nine were rescued and are being monitored closely.”
Andelin said the damage was extensive.
“All of our equipment, tools, everything is gone,” he told WTVR. “We have X-Ray equipment, blood machines, and anesthesia, all sorts of equipment, and most of that is all gone as well.”
Andelin told the station that he lives nearby and heard an explosion before rushing over to the zoo to try and rescue the animals. He said the surviving creatures were being monitored and were doing well.
The fire at the in Moseley, Va., facility is under investigation, but arson is not suspected.
The zoo was open Monday morning since public areas were not affected by the blaze.
“There are so many people that come here and enjoy the zoo,” Andelin saud. “We felt that it was more important to stay open [Monday] and keep things as normal as we can. And so that’s what we’ve done.”