Chester Zoo fire
At 11.28am on Saturday 15th December we were called to a large fire at Chester Zoo. The blaze was in the Monsoon Forest Habitat on the site, which is the UK’s largest zoo building.
Due to the scale of the fire it was declared a major incident. The zoo was immediately evacuated and a cordon was put in place. Firefighters - wearing breathing apparatus and using main jets - brought the fire under control and extinguished the fire. The area where the fire started was significantly damaged but the actions of the fire crews stopped the spread of the fire to the rest of the building and saved a large portion of it.
Firefighters also helped the zoo keepers to move some of the animals away from the fire. They helped staff manually move some small reptiles such as turtles and tortoises, and helped staff to shut the gates behind the large mammals, such as gibbons and orangutans, after the zoo keepers had coaxed them into their outside habitats.
The zoo have confirmed that the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and other mammals were all accounted for but have sadly confirmed that a number of insects, frogs, fish and small birds died as a result of the fire.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing but at this stage we believe that it was accidental.
For more information - Fire in an enclosure in Chester Zoo
Statement from Chester Zoo (opens in new window)
Last updated: Wednesday 19 December 2018