London Zoo was left closed after a blaze ripped through a cafe in the popular attraction.
A number of staff were treated for smoke inhalation and shock and an aardvark was unaccounted for after the fire broke out at the popular attraction on Saturday morning, taking three hours to extinguish.
More than 70 firefighters battled the fire, which broke out at around 6am on Saturday in the Animal Adventure section of the zoo, and spread to a nearby shop, finally extinguishing it just after 9am.
Photographs showed orange flames rising from the building as well as billowing smoke that could be seen from outside the zoo.
London Fire Brigade Station Manager Clive Robinson who is attending the incident said: “The fire mainly affected the cafe and shop. Part of nearby animal petting area was also affected although at this stage we don’t know if any animals were involved.
“Firefighters worked hard to bring the fire under control as quickly as possible and to stop it from spreading to neighbouring animal enclosures. Crews will remain at the scene throughout the morning damping down any remaining pockets of fire.”
A spokeswoman for ZSL London Zoo said duty staff who live on site were on the scene immediately and started moving animals to safety.
She said: “We are immensely grateful to the fire brigade, who reacted quickly to the situation to bring the fire under control. The zoo will remain closed until further notice, and we will work closely with fire investigators to determine the cause of the incident.”
One witness, a dog walker, said they could smell the fire from Camden Town, adding: “I thought it was going to be a huge blaze but it seems like they’ve got it, so I’m quite pleased.”
(Top picture: SWNS)