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Fire At San Diego Zoo Caused By Arsonist

Fire At San Diego Zoo Caused By Arsonist

 

Investigators confirmed the fire at the San Diego Zoo on Monday was no accident. The pre-dawn blaze tore through a large gift shop outside the Giant Panda exhibit and badly damaged the store.

Thanks to the quick action of a zoo security guard who spotted the flames at 1:12 a.m. Monday morning and called 911 for help, none of the pandas were hurt. The gift shop was approximately 50 yards from the bears and an aviary.

Zoo Spokesperson Christina Simmons told San Diego 6 news, “The fire was a scare for all of us. Anytime there’s a major fire we are concerned particularly for the animals in our collection. The animals are doing fine.”

After spending 7 hours investigating the damage, San Diego Fire Spokesman Maurice Luque alerted the zoo about the suspicious nature of the fire. He said, “We know it’s arson.”

Sources told the news station “an employee who had access to the park may be to blame.”

Luque said his investigators plan to look at disgruntled employees, recent correspondence to the zoo and review the surveillance cameras before coming to a conclusion about the possible identity of the arsonist.

The L.A. Times reported the fire charred 1,200 square-feet of the Panda Canyon gift shop and caused $700,000 worth of damage. Two-dozen firefighters had the blaze under control in 15 minutes.

The zoo was able to open as scheduled on Monday. Visitors expressed their concern about the fire and the tragedy that could have occurred to the pandas and other animals if the security guard hadn’t walked by when he did.

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Photo: fortherockvia flickr.

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105 comments

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7:05AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Sad news but glad all the animals are ok :) thanks for sharing :)

5:25AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:06AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

THANK GOD AND THE ZOO'S SECURITY GUARD THAT NONE OF THE ANIMALS WERE INJURED OR KILLED. THE ARSONIST SHOULD RECEIVE THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE BECAUSE HE OR SHE KNEW HE OR SHE WOULD HAVE KILLED ALL THOSE INNOCENT ANIMALS.

9:40PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

The San Diego Zoo is one of the last places to get your dander up about animal welfare. Go to Sax Fifth Avenue and protest the fur coats- don't burn down the Panda gift shop!

6:37PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Glad the damage wasn't any worse than it was!

2:21PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

I'm glad the fire was controlled before any animals were harmed. Whoever did this is a coward, too afraid to voice their issues to human beings.

2:13PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

I hope they catch that person that doesn't care what could have happen to the poor animal that was stuck in a caged area. He or she should receive the harshest punishment that could happen.

7:33PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Probably a vegan moron with matches.

7:25PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Moron with matches.

1:25PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

May the arsonist suffer burns over much of his/her body, and not die -- at least, not quickly.

I am horrified. I rarely allow myself to wish anyone such ill. I rarely want to inflict punishment;I generally just want to end the troubled life of such a person, quickly and painlessly, to prevent recurrence and also to ease the torment that allows such behavior; but starting a fire at a zoo? Punishment may be appropriate.

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