More than 100 animals killed in blaze at zoo as flames rip through barn 


More than 100 animals including meerkats, parrots and skunks are killed in blaze at zoo as flames rip through barn

  • Staff rushed to help save 30 animals from the burning building in Maldon, Essex 
  • But more than 100 animals perished after a blaze tore through a petting zoo barn
  • It took more than 11 hours putting out blaze caused by electrical fault on freezer 

More than 100 animals perished after a blaze tore through a petting zoo barn.

A giant tortoise, armadillo, meerkats, parrots, cockatoos and skunks were among the animals that died in a scene described as being ‘like a horror film’.

Staff rushed out of bed to help save 30 animals from the building in Maldon, Essex, near Chelmsford, after the fire broke out just after midnight on Monday.

Firefighters spent more than 11 hours putting out the blaze which was caused by an electrical fault on a freezer.

Staff rushed out of bed to help save 30 animals from the building in Maldon, Essex, near Chelmsford, after the fire broke out just after midnight on Monday

The 100ft by 65ft private barn contained 70 species, including rescue animals and others belonging to Maldon Promenade Petting Zoo.

Craig Williams, a director at the farm, said the deaths were an irreparable loss. ‘Everything else can be replaced. It’s the little lives that we lost – it sounds stupid but they are our family,’ he said. 

The surviving animals and around 100 others housed just outside the barn have been placed in emergency accommodation.

The 100ft by 65ft private barn contained 70 species, including rescue animals and others belonging to Maldon Promenade Petting Zoo

The 100ft by 65ft private barn contained 70 species, including rescue animals and others belonging to Maldon Promenade Petting Zoo

Essex Fire and Rescue said the barn was ‘100 per cent alight’ when crews arrived.

The zoo will remain closed until further notice to allow staff to recover. They have been offered counselling. 

More than £1,000 has been donated after a fundraising drive was launched.

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