British zoo evacuated after fire breaks out at large indoor exhibit

LONDON (Reuters) – A zoo in northern England said it had evacuated all visitors on Saturday after a fire broke out in its Monsoon Forest section, the largest indoor zoological building in Britain.

Pictures on social media showed flames and plumes of smoke emerging from Chester Zoo which said it was now closed.

“Visitors have been evacuated and asked to leave the zoo as teams work to bring the situation under control,” the zoo said on Twitter. “The zoo’s animal teams are working to move all animals away from the incident.”

Chester Zoo is home to 21,000 animals across 125 acres, attracting 1.9 million visitors a year, its website said. The 40 million pound sub-tropical Monsoon Forest section is home to animals including Sumatran orangutans, macaques, snakes and crocodiles.

Last December, a large blaze at London Zoo killed an aardvark and four meerkats, and damaged a shop and cafe.

Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Louise Heavens

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