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Fire at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo contained, but reptiles, amphibians moved to safety

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Photo: Seattle Fire Dept.

SEATTLE — A fire broke out in an empty building at the Woodland Park Zoo Thursday afternoon, prompting the zoo to move reptiles and amphibians nearby to a safe area. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze within a couple of hours, but two suffered minor injuries, officials said.

Zoo spokeswoman Gigi Allianic said the zoo was evacuated of visitors shortly after the fire was discovered in the empty Night Exhibit Building at about 3:15 p.m., adding that there were few people there because the zoo closes at 4 p.m.

Some animals from the nearby Day Exhibit, which contains 200 reptiles and amphibians, were being moved as a precaution because of smoke and loss of power, she added.  A few tortoises and a tree kangaroo were moved first. Lizards, amphibians and non-venomous snakes were to be moved next. Venomous snakes were to be moved last.

The zoo said it was later learned that six small turtles were in a hibernation chamber in the Night Exhibit Building, where the fire broke out. The zoo said their condition was unknown.

Allianic said the fire started at about 3:15 p.m. in the Night Exhibit building, which has been closed and without animals since 2010. However, smoke spread to the adjacent Amphibians and Reptiles Exhibit, she added.

Seattle Fire was on the scene and beginning to fight the blaze.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.