Ohio Barn Fire Kills 10 Exotic Animals

Animals come right up to the car to receive a celery treat.

Anna Finsel

Animals come right up to the car to receive a celery treat.

Anna Finsel

On Thanksgiving night a fire broke out in one of the barns at African Safari Wildlife Park. The Park is a drive-through Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio. At The Wildlife Park visitors can drive through a 100-acre preserve to watch and feed animals. Animals at The Park include Bison, Longhorn, Camels, Elk, Giraffe, Zebras, and much more. There are several barns on the preserve to house the hundreds of animals, the barn that burned down housed three giraffes, three red river hogs, three bongos and a springbok. Bongos and Springboks are both a type of antelope. But, sadly none of these animals made it out alive. The Safari will remain closed until February 22nd, 2020. 

There were no visible signs of criminal activity associated, but the cause of the fire is undetermined due to the fact that the barn suffered extensive damage. Additionally, investigators could not determine if a reported power outage the day prior had any involvement with causing the fire. In an interview with WTOL 11 Investigator Frank Reitmeier explained, “During the fire, the vast majority of the building collapsed, so heavy equipment was needed during fire suppression to locate the remains of the animals that perished.” 

The Staff and community members are in denial as well as guests that make their way to The Park every year. The staff at The Park has placed a banner and markers at the entrance of the park and are asking that community members, as well as past and present staff, leave a message to help the park and its team members recover from this horrific event. The Park has also established a memorial as part of their Guardian of Wildlife fund from which all donations go to wildlife conservation, including supporting giraffe conservation. After hearing about this news Shari Finsel explains, “I’ve been going to the park for my entire life and it makes me so sad because the giraffes are always my favorite animal to see.”