RISING SUN — Six animals perished when smoke filled the Bird and Reptile House at Plumpton Park Zoo Saturday morning.

“We lost four birds and two snakes,” said Nick Lacovara, owner of the zoo on Telegraph Road in Rising Sun. One of the birds was Jewel, the macaw that made public appearances on behalf of the zoo at events including SunFest. The pair of hyacinth macaws and the African grey parrot were also victims of the fire and smoke.

A snake in the collection was found later under the rubble.

According to the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the fire was deemed accidental, as the result of what investigators called an “unspecified event within the reptile building.”

The loss of the structure was estimated at $150,000.

Matt Blakely, in charge at the fire scene for the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun, said his crew arrived to find the building engulfed in smoke.”There was smoke flowing from the eaves and down to the floor,” Blakely said.

Zoo staff told Blakely they found fire just inside the door and used fire extinguishers to knock it down.

Firefighters removed reptiles from the enclosures inside the building and brought them to the waiting hands of staff and volunteers. Each was whisked away to be assessed.

“The building is gutted,” Lacovara said. “Smoke damage is extensive.”

Veterinarians were called to the zoo to check on the affected animals.

Plumpton Park Zoo is closed Saturday. Those who had tickets will be rescheduled or refunded.

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