A fire at the San Antonio Zoo killed three reptiles, including a Komodo dragon. Zoo officials said the fire was extinguished with 10 to 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the fire burned long enough for the building to fill with smoke.
San Antonio Zoo Director Steve McCusker said the fire started with a heating pad. The pads are attached to the underside of reptiles’ tanks to help regulate their temperature. McCuster believes one of the mats shorted out and caught on fire. He said he is unsure of the details, but expects the problem originated with the breaker box.
Although there was a fire, it was contained to a small area. Unfortunately, the fire created thick smoke that filled the two-story building. A zookeeper who worked with the reptiles smelled the smoke at around 6 am on Monday morning.
As reported by MySanAntonio.com, several zookeepers and firefighters worked together to evacuate the animals, which included a 330 pound python. Although they were able to rescue most of the reptiles, a Komodo dragon, snake, and a lizard died of smoke inhalation. Thankfully, there were no other injuries reported in the fire.
The Komodo dragon that died was a 15-year-old female. Her male companion was safely evacuated from the enclosure. Although the San Antonio Zoo remained open after the fire, the reptile exhibit is closed for repairs.
KENS5 News reports that the Komodo dragon exhibit will likely stay closed for up to eight months.
The San Antonio Zoo was founded in the 1800s at San Pedro Park. The original zoo was a simple collection of small animals. In 1914, Colonel George W. Brackenridge donated several large animals and deeded the land to the city.
The zoo credits numerous benefactors, volunteers, and patrons, with making the zoo what it is today. Currently, the zoo is home to more than 9,000 animals representing 750 species. The San Antonia zoo has grown to include 56 acres and remains one of the city’s most beloved attractions.
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