GADSDEN, Ala. — An early morning fire at a petting zoo barn killed an estimated 75 animals Sunday at Noccalula Falls Park in Alabama.
Park Supervisor Christina Richardson told The Gadsden Times that birds, baby alligators, a tortoise, 10 turtles and as many as 25 guinea pigs were among the animals lost in the blaze.
Gadsden Fire Chief Wil Reed said in a news release that the fire was reported at around 5:45 a.m. by a passerby, but responding firefighters found the petting zoo barn fully engulfed upon arrival.
City officials confirmed to AL.com that no human injuries were reported and that the cause of the fire, which remained unknown late Sunday afternoon, remains under investigation. The park will remain closed until further notice, Richardson confirmed.
“All of the pasture animals and animals in the outdoor enclosures survived, but the animals inside the main building did not,” City of Gadsden spokesperson Michael Rodgers told the outlet via email.
Richardson confirmed to The Gadsden Times that the park employs overnight security, but they are stationed on the other side of the facility, noting park officials and fire department personnel intend to question the security detail to help determine what happened.
The 250-acre Noccalula Falls Park features a 90-foot waterfall, hiking trails, a wedding chapel, pavilions, a campground and other activities, according to its official website. The park’s petting zoo opened in 2000 and expanded in 2006.