Several Animals Killed In Indy Zoo Blaze

Portion Of Zoo Closed

A fire at the Indianapolis Zoo early Saturday morning killed several small animals and closed part of an exhibit.

Zoo officials said the fire in the Critter Corner building of its Encounters area began before 4:30 a.m.

Zoo workers were at the scene of the blaze within a minute of its discovery, and firefighters arrived within five minutes, 6News' Cheryl Jackson reported.

Sprinklers extinguished the fire in 35 minutes but not before it killed three turtles, two birds, an armadillo, a snake, several hissing cockroaches and other animals. On Sunday, zoo officials said a parrot died from injuries sustained in the fire.

Additional birds, reptiles, and rodents were being treated at the zoo's hospital.

Some of the animals that died are often considered pests in the outside world, but they were loved by zoo staff and visitors.

"We don't really care if an animal is charismatic or not. It's still a living, breathing creature," said Michael Crowther, president of the Indianapolis Zoo. "The animals are ambassadors for their species and for wild things and wild places. We have them so we can ensure the sustainability of the future."

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The zoo said Critter Corner will be closed until further notice but that the rest of the zoo is operating normally.

"They are important for children to see. We don't have hissing cockroaches or armadillos in central Indiana. So, it's neat for them to see and encounter those animals just as well," said zoo visitor Drew Kissling.

It's the second Indiana zoo fire this month. An African lion exhibit being built at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo caught fire Nov. 2. No injuries were reported.

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