CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) – Veterinarians are at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Anderson County treating injured animals after a fire broke out on Monday.
The fire was reported just after noon Monday. The zoo’s manager said employees were working in the barn when the fire broke out. Zoo workers were able to rescue some of the animals to safety. In one instance, workers carried a camel out of the barn through the flames.
It is unknown how many animals were injured or died in the fire.
The animals that survived are being treated for their injuries, including smoke inhalation.
Five volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze, as well as the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Mark Lucas, chief deputy with the Anderson County’s Sheriff’s Department, said some zoo workers suffered minor injuries as they worked to get animals out of the barn and were treated on the scene by paramedics. A firefighter was also taken to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge for a minor injury he suffered.
Fire investigators are working to uncover the cause of the fire, which is believed to be accidental.
“This is a sad day, as the Little Ponderosa Zoo has been a part of our community for a long time and the owner, James Cox, has been a close friend for many years,” Lucas said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all at the Little Ponderosa.”
The zoo posted on Facebook on Monday afternoon asking for prayers.
The zoo, located in Clinton, is a nonprofit zoo and rescue facility for exotic animals. According to their Facebook page, they have rescued animals from across the United States.