Twenty-eight exotic animals died of smoke inhalation in an electrical fire in the primate barn at the Hollywild Animal Park in Spartanburg County on Friday.
The smoky fire started during the night and was discovered around 8:30 a.m. by staff member Jay Gossett, according to a new release from Hollywild. Gossett opened doors to get rid of smoke and called for help. The park isn’t open to the public this time of year.
The animals were removed from the building, and 14 of the 42 animals survived, according to Hollywild, a non-profit animal park. Among the animals that perished were two capuchin monkeys, four chimpanzees, two baboons, eight lemurs, two mangabey monkeys, one bear cub, one African crowned crane, three tortoises, four wolf hybrid puppies and one barn cat.
The 14 survivors included five tortoises, one wallaroo marsupial, two baboons, one dog, two wolf hybrid puppies, one ring-tailed lemur and one young bear.
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“This is very devastating to me and the entire Hollywild family,” said 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.”
Holly Springs fire chief Brent Blackwell said the fire started in an electrical short in a light fixture, causing lots of smoke. The fire had died out on its own by the time the fire fighters arrived, though there were a few smoky hot spots, Blackwell said.