Dozens of animals passed away following a devastating fire at the Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center in Madeira Beach, Florida.
The education center housed over 250 exotic animals that were rescued and surrendered from pet owners in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area.
We suffered from a tragic fire last night. Nearly all of the animals are gone. We are devastated.
The center took to Facebook to share about the devastating news. They said, “We suffered from a tragic fire last night. Nearly all of the animals are gone. We are devastated.”
In the comments of the post, they explained that some of the animals did survive, but all mammals were killed.
All tortoises and turtles survived, along with sloths who went home with one of the caretakers that night.
One of the staff at the center, Cynthia, said she said goodbye to prairie dogs after the fire. She said, “I was able to pet each one to say goodbye when we found them. They were so soft. They were one of my favorites.”
According to ABC News, Madeira Beach Fire Department Fire Chief Clint Belk said that the fire crews responded to the fire, which broke out around 3 a.m. on Thursday, July 13, and found heavy smoke and fire pouring from the front of the building.
By the time they put the fire out, it was too late to save most of the animals. A few of the reptiles survived, in addition to the turtles and tortoises.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause.
Kristina Park has started a GoFundMe following the devastating loss to help support the center in the aftermath.