Gadsden Fire Chief Wil Reed said fire trucks were the equivalent of blocks from the petting zoo at Noccalula Falls Park, and were on the scene within minutes of a 5:45 a.m. call there, but the barn already was a total loss.
Falls Park Supervisor Christina Richardson said roughly 75 animals that were inside the barn perished in the fire. Among them were birds, baby alligators, a tortoise, 10 turtles and 20 to 25 guinea pigs.
All the pasture and outdoor enclosure animals were unharmed, Richardson said.
“A lot of kids are going to be crying today,” a Gadsden police officer at the scene said Sunday morning.
Noccalula Falls Park is closed until further notice because of the fire.
Reed said someone driving by saw the smoke and called 911. GFD units responded, he said — the first from the fire station located just outside the entrance to the park campground. Because of the location of the fire on Lookout Mountain, tanker trucks were requested from Highland, Reece City and Glencoe fire departments, the chief said.
Richardson said there are overnight security personnel at the park, but they are stationed on the other side of the facility. She said park officials and fire department personnel will be talking to them to see if they observed anything that will help determine what happened.
No human injuries were reported. Reed said the fire marshal will be investigating the blaze to determine its cause during the next few days.
Read More:At least 75 animals died