Big Fire at Gatorland
The popular Gatorland, an Orlando, Florida area tourist attraction, caught fire early Monday morning, according to local news reports. Firefighters were battling a blaze in the main building and gift shop. The call that alerted them to the fire came in at 5:55 am. Videos and photos show the main building ablaze, consuming part of the giant gator jaws entrance.
The fire was contained primarily around the 7,000 square foot gift shop by 8:30 am, according to WKMG Local 6 News reports. Most animals were reported to be in areas unaffected by the blaze, but two crocodiles in an adjacent pen were missing. Firefighters were exercising caution around the gator ponds.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Gatorland owners are talking about reopening within a week. [Thanks to attraction news tipsters Bob Cara, Roger Crook, Terry Fiedor, Jim Mogle, and John Morgan]
Update - The cause of the fire has been traced to a defective powered snake warmer sheet. Gatorland has plans to reopen by Nov. 24, and proceed with plans to replace the entrance jaws after that. The fire did claim the lives of two pythons, a crocodile and two gator hatchlings.[11/06/2006]
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