RISING SUN — Plumpton Park Zoo is looking at a hefty price tag to get its Bird & Reptile House back in order after a fire a week ago that killed six animals.
Eight others were rescued.
Cheryl Lacovara, director of the zoo on Telegraph Road. in Rising Sun said a Newark, Del. company gave her an estimate of as much as $75,000 to restore the single-story wooden structure from which 8 animals were successfully rescued.
“They said the (one side) of the snake enclosure would have to go down to the studs,” Lacovara said Thursday. “Behind the snake enclosure could be cleaned, sealed and painted.”
Nicholas Lacovara, co-owner of the zoo along with his wife, Cheryl, said investigators from the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal told the couple that the fire started in a light fixture inside the enclosure of Fluffy, the ball python.
“The ceramic housing for the bulb is covered in melted, charred plastic,” he said. Fluffy was one of the casualties of the 8 a.m. blaze that filled the building with thick, black smoke.
Also lost was Jewel, the macaw ambassador of the zoo that was often taken to public appearances such as SunFest; Journey and Justice, a pair of hyacinth macaws, the African gray parrot, and smaller snakes.
A Burmese python, red tail boa constrictor, alligator, bearded dragon, tortoise, tarantula, pixie frog and two red-eared sliders made it out safely.
“Everyone is doing nicely,” Cheryl reported of the survivors. “They all look good and are getting a round of antibiotics just in case.”
Businesses and individuals have already shown support for Plumpton Park with donations and fundraisers launched to help.
Granite Run Taproom on South Main Street in Port Deposit is giving dollar bills collected at the bar through the end of August to the zoo. Benjamin’s Store on Rising Sun Road in Rising Sun is offering a percentage of all deli sales to the zoo. Circle Back Ranch on Telegraph Road in Rising Sun is hosting an online auction for one of its refinished furniture pieces on behalf of the zoo. Britain Hill Venue & Vineyard in Quarryville, Pa. is hosting a fundraising event Aug. 30.
“A couple from Conowingo showed up at the zoo and said they are raffling off a bushel of steamed crabs,” Cheryl said, adding, “It’s heartwarming that the community is behind us.”
The fire marshal’s office estimated the loss of the structure alone at $150,000. The Lacovaras, on the other hand, feel the loss of the animals profoundly.
“We’ve had a lot of phone calls from people wanting to donate animals,” Cheryl said. There is no hurry, however, to get replacements.
“All were rescues,” Nick added. He said when the building is restored it will be larger inside. “We will have the capacity to take animals to replace the ones that were lost.”