Investigators say cause of deadly fire at African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton is “undetermined”


PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WOIO) - Investigators with the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Bureau announced Wednesday the cause of the fire at the African Safari Wildlife Park is “undetermined", due to the extensive damage to the barn.

Investigators added there is no indication of criminal activity and they could not determine if a power outage the day before had anything to do with the fire.

A total of 10 animals were in the barn that caught fire at 6:16 p.m. on Nov. 28.

Three giraffes, three red river hogs, three bongos and a springbok were killed.

No other animals in the park were harmed.

“The post-fire condition of the building prevented the ability to determine an exact cause of the fire,” said Investigator Frank Reitmeier. “During the fire, the vast majority of the building collapsed, so heavy equipment was needed during fire suppression and to locate the remains of the animals that perished.”

African Safari Wildlife Park posted this devastating statement on Facebook about two hours after the fire broke out:

"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."

The African Safari Wildlife Park’s website said the park is home to alpaca, bactrian camel, bison, bongo, elk, fallow deer, giraffe, guanaco, llama, red river hog, Scottish highlander, sika deer, sulcata tortoise, warthog, white alligator, white bison, white-handed gibbons, and zebra.

Barn housing animals at African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton goes up in flames on Thanksgiving

The African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton is mourning the loss of 10 animals after their barn went up in flames on Thanksgiving night.

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Thursday, November 28, 2019

An African Safari Wildlife Park official said the park will remain closed through the winter.

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