Fire Kills 10 Animals At The Safari Wildlife Park In Ohio: ‘We’re All Grief-Stricken’

A fire broke out at an Ohio Safari Park Thanksgiving evening, killing 10 animals, including three giraffes.

PEOPLE received confirmation from the Danbury Township police that firefighters responded to a call in Port Clinton, Ohio at the African Safari Wildlife Park. Reports of the fire were received on Thursday at 6:15 PM and police confirmed that 10 animals lost their lives in the fire.

The fire started at a heated barn on the 100-acre Safari Park. CNN says that the barn was used to house various animals.

CNN was told by an official with the Danbury Township police that three giraffes, three red river hogs, three bongos and a springbok were in the barn when the fire occurred. A co-owner of the park, Holly Hunt said that the 300 other animals at the facility are accounted for.

According to the Toledo Blade, a loose zebra was also captured by officials and a giraffe escaped while the fire was being fought.

Hunt told CNN that the fire was noticed by a caretaker on Thursday after a power flicker occurred. CNN said that the cause of the fire is not yet established.

African Safari Wildlife Park said that they were ‘devastated’ by what had occurred. In that statement that was posted on Facebook, they also said that staff members were not injured during the blaze.

“Our African Safari Wildlife Park team is devastated by the loss of animals housed in a barn destroyed by fire that was discovered early Thanksgiving evening,” the statement read. “We are grateful that our staff is safe and no one was injured, but the loss of the wildlife that we care for every day is tragic for our team members who love these animals.”

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According to the statement, staff members are still “assessing the loss of wildlife” that was in the barn on Thursday night. The park will not open on Friday while the staff members are mourning the loss and caring for the animals that survived.

Our African Safari Wildlife Park team is devastated by the loss of animals housed in a barn destroyed by fire that was…

Posted by African Safari Wildlife Park on Thursday, November 28, 2019

“We deeply appreciate the first responders who worked on the holiday to try and save animals affected by the fire and thank the community for its support during this very difficult time,” the statement said. “Again, we are grateful that our staff are safe, although we are all grief-stricken over this loss.”

They are investigating the cause of the fire at this time.

The Toledo Blade said that the 50th season of the African Safari Wildlife Park occurred last year. Over 50 different species are reportedly housed that the park, including porcupines, tortoises, and alpacas.

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