A fire at Hollywild Animal Park in South Carolina killed 28 animals in the organization’s primate barn early Friday, park officials said.
A staff member at the park found smoke in the barn as he arrived for work a little before 8:30 a.m. on Friday, according to a Facebook post from the park. Twenty-eight animals died due to smoke inhalation, and 14 other animals in the building survived and are being treated.
“This is very devastating to me and the entire Hollywild family,” said Dr. Beverly Hargus, Hollywild’s veterinarian. “At this point, we do not feel any animals are suffering. None were burned. The survivors are recovering from smoke inhalation. It appears it was a quick and painless death for the animals that died.”
Local fire officials said the fire was caused by an electrical short in a light fixture that traveled into the ceiling and spread, causing the building to fill with smoke.
Four chimpanzees, two baboons, eight lemurs, one bear cub and three tortoises were among the animals that died.
“This is definitely the kind of fire that can just happen anywhere,” Hargus said.