Ten Animals Killed in Fire at African Safari Wildlife Park in Ohio

DANBURY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Ten animals were killed when a fire broke out Thursday at the African Safari Wildlife Park in northern Ohio, Danbury Township police said.

Firefighters were called to the Port Clinton park at 6:15 p.m. after reports of a fire at a barn that houses animals, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, and park officials said.

Three giraffes, three red river hogs, three bongos, and a springbok had been inside the barn before the fire, Officer Carolyn DeMore with the Danbury Township Police told reporters. A bongo is a large forest antelope, and the springbok is a medium-sized, gazelle-like antelope.

Holly Hunt, the co-owner of the park, told CNN there are 300 other animals in the park, and all have been accounted for.

"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," park officials said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Hunt said a caretaker initially spotted the fire Thursday following a power flicker in the property. She said the facility had briefly lost power on Wednesday.

Some of the park's animals are usually housed in the heated barn during this time of the year.

The fire was not fully contained Thursday night, and firefighters were expected to continue battling the blaze overnight, Danbury Township Fire Chief Keith Kahler said.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The Ohio State Fire Marshal will arrive at the park Friday to investigate the blaze, Kahler said.

Firefighters found propane tanks stored inside the barn, Kahler said.

A video recorded by a bystander shows two giraffes running away from the flames as smoke pours from the barn. DeMore said first responders found at least one giraffe at a nearby pond.

Visitors to the 100-acre drive-thru park can feed several animals on their drive, including giraffes, zebras, and bison, according to the park's website.

The park was closed for Thanksgiving. It will remain closed Friday as authorities investigate the incident, and the staff mourns the loss.

The African Safari Wildlife Park was established in 1969. It's located about 37 miles southeast of Toledo, Ohio.

Talkback 16 Online Discussion:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

1 Comment

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.