Lightning strike causes fire at Central Florida Zoo

Trees catch fire near black bear exhibit

Image courtesy of the Central Florida Zoo
Image courtesy of the Central Florida Zoo

SANFORD, Fla. – A lightning strike caused a fire at the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford Thursday afternoon, zoo officials said.

The fire was reported at about 2:15 p.m. and was extinguished by the time firefighters arrived.

It happened when lightning struck two palm trees near a black bear exhibit. Zoo staff said the fire was not inside an exhibit and emergency protocols were immediately put in place. 

"No visitors, guests, or animals were injured during this event. I’m very proud of the way our staff handled this situation, and I thank all our guests for being patient and understanding during this event," Central Florida Zoo CEO Dino Ferri said.

When the flames were reported, animals were shifted into their safe houses and guests were asked to leave the area.

Seminole County Fire Department officials said that the fire did not cause any evacuations. They are still determining if lightning did indeed cause the fire.

Check back for more details on this developing story.

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