Economy

London Zoo on lockdown after fire broke out next to the Meerkats

London Zoo on lockdown after fire broke out next to the Meerkats

A beloved aardvark, Misha, has tragically died after a huge fire broke out at the London Zoo.

Staff members were treated for smoke inhalation and shock after the blaze broke out near a zoo cafe in the early morning hours.

A cafe, including an animal petting area, and gift shop are said to be "currently alight".

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London Ambulance said paramedics treated eight people at the scene - six for smoke inhalation and two for minor injuries, with one of those treated taken to hospital. "They worked incredibly hard in arduous conditions to bring it under control as quickly as possible and to stop it from spreading to neighbouring animal enclosures", Station Manager David George said. Staffers living onsite rushed to move animals as quickly as they could, but they were too late to save Misha, a 9-year-old aardvark.

Flames: Firefighters work to bring the blaze under control.

Officials are checking the rest of the animal population and the zoo remained closed to the public on what had been expected to be a busy day at the popular facility in Regent's Park.

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Zoo director Dominic Jermey said the staff was "absolutely devastated" by the aardvark's death. However, it confirmed on Twitter it would reopen Sunday.

Earlier, LFB confirmed 10 fire engines and 72 firefighters and officers were dispatched to the scene.

A firefighter walking into the zoo said: "They were tackling it for a couple of hours but by the sounds of it they've pretty much got it".

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It is not known what started the fire.


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