Dramatic images showing the inside of Chester Zoo following a severe fire on Saturday have emerged.
The pictures, posted to social media, came hours after a blaze erupted at the popular attraction, in Cheshire.
The family-friendly attraction is the home to a whopping 21,000 animals.
But today visitors at the popular zoo were evacuated and animals rescued after a blaze “engulfed” the Monsoon Forest.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin shared a series of photos from inside the attraction.
Zoo staff led the animals housed in the structure to safety as firefighters rushed to the scene.
Orangutans, gibbons, crocodiles, turtles and exotic birds are among the species housed in the Monsoon Forest, which recreates a tropical south east Asian environment.
Eyewitnesses described how visitors to the attraction – billed as the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK – were rushed to safety.
They were evacuated as the blaze spread rapidly through the polymer roofing material.
The zoo said in a statement: “Critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and other mammals are all accounted for.
“We are working hard to account for all other species.”
One person was treated for smoke inhalation as a result of the fire, according to North West Ambulance Service.
Mark said “most of the building” was saved thanks to an incredible response from emergency services crews and zoo staff.
He posted: “Fabulous multi agency effort to bring fire under control at Chester Zoo. Excellent work from Chester Zoo staff too.
“Very complex incident – well managed. As a result all the orangutans were saved and most of the building.”
One eyewitness, David Clough, 50, who lives across the road from the zoo, said high winds fanned the flames in the roof of the building.
He added: “We were very worried for the people and animals that would have been in the building.”
He added: “Orangutans and gibbons are our nearest neighbours there, but there are many other animals, including free-flying birds.
“It was spreading across the roof in strong winds for a while.”
The zoo statement added: “Visitors were evacuated and the zoo’s response team worked alongside the emergency services to help bring the situation under control.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service crews wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze using water jets.
The Monsoon Forest attraction is part of the £40million Islands project which was completed in 2015 and the attraction is the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK.
Source : BirminghamMail