Alabama petting zoo temporarily closes after deadly fire

May 3, 2021
dvm360 Staff

The blaze at the Noccalula Falls Park petting zoo claimed roughly 78 animal lives. No human fatalities have been reported and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

A passerby reported a raging fire at Noccalula Falls Park's petting zoo in Gadsden, Alabama on Sunday around 5:45 am—the deadly blaze sadly took the lives of roughly 75 animals, according to a City of Gadsden release.

When Gadsden Fire Department units responded to this devastating scene, the barn was already consumed with flames. Tanker trucks were also requested from Highland, Reece City, and Glencoe fire departments due to the location of the fire on Lookout Mountain.

Animals lost in the fire included birds, baby alligators, a tortoise, 10 turtles, and up to 25 guinea pigs, park supervisor Christina Richardson tells the Gadsden Times.

“The petting zoo has several areas—there is a main building, but there is also a grassy pasture area outside and several outdoor enclosures. All of the pasture animals and animals in the outdoor enclosures survived, but the animals inside the main building did not,” City of Gadsden spokesperson Michael Rodgers told dvm360 in an email.

Richardson also noted that the park has overnight security but they’re stationed on the opposite side of the facility. Park officials and the fire department intend to talk to security personnel in hopes of securing useful information about this tragic event.

No human fatalities have been reported and the cause of the blaze remains unknown and will require further investigation by the Gadsden Fire Department and the fire marshall. The Noccalula Falls Park is currently closed until further notice.