African Safari Wildlife Park mourning loss of animal life after blaze breaks out in barn

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PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WJW) — A fire broke out at the African Wildlife Safari Park in Port Clinton Thursday night, taking the lives of ten animals.

According to police, the fire broke out in a barn that houses animals. When police arrived on scene around 6:20 p.m. the barn was fully engulfed.

Crews from three departments were called to work the fire.

Danbury Township Officer Carolyn DeMore said she heard two explosions that occurred in the facility shortly after she got to the park.

Three bongos, three giraffes, three red river hogs and one springbok lost their lives. A zebra managed to escape the blaze.

The park says no staff members were injured during the blaze.

Officer DeMore says investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire, however the barn is a total loss.

Video being shared on social media shows a giraffe running through the park. Police say that giraffe got loose from another barn and was not harmed in the fire. Animal officials are currently trying to get the giraffe back to its home.

Aaron DiBucci shared that video with FOX 8:

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African Wildlife Safari Park will be closed Friday as the staff mourns the loss of life and cares for the other animals living on the property.

The park issued the following statement on their Facebook page:

"Our African Safari Wildlife Park team is devastated by the loss of animals housed in a barn destroyed by fire that was discovered early Thanksgiving evening. 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.

We are still assessing the loss of wildlife that was housed in the barn for over-night care and security.

Park staff members are on the scene with firefighters and official responders. An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire.

The animals lost in this tragedy were part of our African Safari family, and the Park will be closed on Friday as we mourn their loss and care for the other animals living on the 100-area Park.

We deeply appreciate the first responders who worked on the holiday to try and save animals affected by the fire and thank the community for its support during this very difficult time.

Again, we are grateful that our staff are safe, although we are all grief-stricken over this loss."

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