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Fire at Chester Zoo leads to evacuation of visitors

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Media captionMembers of the public filmed the fire as it took hold

A large fire has broken out at Chester Zoo, prompting an evacuation of visitors.

The zoo tweeted the blaze had broken out in its Monsoon Forest habitat. It said teams were working to bring the blaze under control and to move all animals away from the fire.

North West Ambulance said it was rung after 11:40 GMT as a precaution, but there were no patients needing help.

The site is one of the most popular tourism venues in the UK.

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David Clough

Some visitors at the zoo tweeted images from the scene including David Wearing, who said: “Hope humans and animals evacuated safely – fire crews arriving on their scene.”

Sophie Flynn said zoo staff were “working hard to deal” with the fire, which “happened very quickly”.

“It started as a little fire […] which we saw but it’s obviously much worse now!”

The zoo tweeted it had closed the whole site, adding: “Visitors have been evacuated and our response team is working alongside emergency services to bring the situation under control.”

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Chester Zoo

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Chester Zoo houses hundreds of species

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Sophie Flynn

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The fire broke out in the Monsoon Habitat area

The Monsoon Forest building is the UK’s largest indoor zoo exhibit, according to the attraction, and opened in August 2015.

It is part of the zoo’s islands section. The 14-acre section houses Sunda gharial crocodiles, Sulawesi crested macaques, rhinoceros hornbills and a variety of plant species.

It has its own tropical weather conditions, with temperatures reaching 26.6C to replicate conditions in South East Asia.

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Getty Images

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The zoo has more than 21,000 animals

Chester Zoo is said to be the UK’s most visited zoo outside London, drawing nearly two million visitors annually.

It has more than 21,000 animals of 500 different species and has been the subject of many TV programmes including the BBC’s Our Zoo drama in 2014.

The zoo says it plays a significant part in wildlife conservation, helping to save endangered species.





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