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Fire kills ‘nearly all’ animals at wildlife centre

A fire has killed “nearly all” of the animals at a wildlife centre in Florida, according to its “devastated” staff.

The fire broke out at the Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center in Madeira Beach, Pinellas County, at around 3am on Thursday.

The centre, on Florida’s west coast, was home to around 250 animals, including lizards, turtles, alligators, and some mammals.

Many of the animals at the centre were pet rescues.


“We suffered from a tragic fire last night,” staff at the centre said in a post on Facebook.

“Nearly all the animals are gone. We are devastated.”

Police and firefighters at the scene

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Sonny Flynn, who owns the centre, told local new station WTSP that nearly all the mammals inside the building died and many of the reptiles were injured.

“They didn’t deserve this. This is my whole life,” Ms Flynn said.

“They all have names, they all have personality, I come in every morning and talk to them like Dr. Dolittle.”

Law enforcement investigate an overnight fire that happened at Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center on Thursday, July 13, 2023, in Madeira Beach, Fla. (Jefferee Woo/Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Police investigate the fire

Flynn said about 95 per cent of the animals at the centre were “pet surrenders because people didn’t know how to take care of them, or they weren’t able to take care of them.”

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.


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