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Chester Zoo thanks public for “many, many messages of public support” after ‘major incident’

Chester Zoo have said they are reopening following the large fire.

“Thank you for the overwhelming messages of goodwill following the fire in our Monsoon Forest building; they have been of great comfort to our teams.”

“Many of you have expressed that you would like to come along to the zoo to show your support, so we are able to confirm that the zoo will be open to visitors on Sunday 16 December. The Monsoon Forest building and Islands zone will remain closed as our conservationists and vets continue to provide expert care and attention for the species there. The Lanterns event will go ahead tomorrow evening (Sunday 16 December) as planned.”

After some earlier confusion after fire service statements, the Zoo has clarified: “The zoo’s teams are now assessing the situation inside Monsoon Forest. Critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and other mammals are all accounted for and being looked after by the zoo specialist conservationists and vets.”

“We are working hard to account for all other species, such as birds, and move animals to alternative habitats. Given that this is the UK’s largest zoo tropical house this will take some time. The zoo’s experts will be working intensively in the coming days and weeks to do this.”

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 this was declared a major incident, a statement says.

15 fire appliances were sent to the zoo, crews wearing breathing apparatus and using main jets – brought the fire under control and it has now been extinguished the fire service has said.

Firefighters remain at the scene to dampen down.

One person was reported to have suffered minor smoke inhalation, there are no reports of any other injuries.

The zoo’s teams are now assessing the situation. They have confirmed that critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and other mammals are all accounted for and being looked after by the zoo specialist conservationists and vets.

Zoo officials have thanked the public for the “many, many messages of public support”

Detective Superintendent Pete Shaw said: “Emergency services remain at the scene and we are continuing to work alongside staff at the zoo.

“I would like to reassure people that there is no risk to public safety as a result of this incident.

Every effort has been made to minimise disruption in the local area and I would also like to thank members of the public for their co-operation and understanding.

I would also like to thank staff at the zoo for their swift response and for all of their help and assistance in bringing this situation under control.”

A spokesperson for Chester Zoo said: “We can confirm that the fire service are still in attendance at our Monsoon Forest habitat after today’s fire. The fire has now been extinguished, but fire fighters will remain on site throughout the night alongside the zoo’s experts.

“Visitors were evacuated immediately and the zoo’s response team worked alongside the emergency services to help bring the situation under control. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but we will be helping the relevant authorities with the investigation that will take place over the coming days and weeks.

“The zoo’s teams are now assessing the situation inside Monsoon Forest. Critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and other mammals are all accounted for and being looked after by the zoo specialist conservationists and vets.

“We are working hard to account for all other species, such as birds, and move animals to alternative habitats. Given that this is the UK’s largest zoo tropical house this will take some time. The zoo’s experts will be working intensively in the coming days and weeks to do this.

“The zoo’s The Lanterns event this evening has been cancelled and ticket holders notified by email.

“The zoo would like the thank the emergency services for their swift response. Thank you also to the many, many messages of public support.”



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