(ZOO FIRE) NEW JERSEY — Back in April, Bordentown, New Jersey’s Bridget’s Animal Kingdom (private zoo and pet store) tragically lost its co-owner and namesake in a cabin fire. Six months after the loss of his wife, owner Burton Sipp, while in Phoenix, discovered that his zoo was once again up in flames. Although there were no human casualties this time, during a rescue attempt a mother giraffe and her three-week-old calf were crushed by a collapsing wall. A room full of exotic birds, three dogs and four cats also perished in the fire. Read on for more on this developing tragedy. — Global Animal
ABC News, Arielle Milkman
A giraffe and her calf were crushed to death when a wall collapsed on them as firefighters tried to get them out of a locked building of a private zoo.
Burton Sipp, the owner of Bridget’s Animal Kingdom in Bordentown, N.J., said he was devastated by the fire. Sipp said he lost his wife Bridget in a fire at the same site in April.
“It’s terrible. It’s the worst nightmare for someone to have. It’s like part of a family, these animals,” Sipp said told ABCNews.com.
The fire started in the rear of the property at 8:41 p.m. on Sunday and was “under control” by 11:51 p.m., an official from Bordentown’s 911 central communications said. Earlier that evening Bridget’s Animal Kingdom had hosted a Halloween event.
The giraffes were locked inside the structure to keep them out of the chilly fall weather, Sipp said. When firefighters attempted to remove them last night, a wall fell on the mother, killing her on site.
The baby was transported to a nearby animal hospital but she didn’t live through the night, Sipp said.
In addition to the giraffes, a room full of exotic birds, and two household dogs also died.
Several giraffes that survived the fire will be taken to Great Adventure Park in Jackson, N.J., for the winter. Sipp said several zoos have offered to temporarily house the other animals, but he and his staff are still coordinating the specifics.
There were no human victims trapped in the flames. The police department has yet to release information about the cause of the fire.
Sipp fears he may have to close Bridget’s Animal Kingdom. The building was underinsured and the repairs will be expensive, he said.
“Right now I’m going to have to say that if I don’t get some financial help, it’ll be the end of animal kingdom zoo,” Sipp said.
Sipp, 67, built the wild animal park 30 years ago.
More ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/giraffes-killed-jersey-zoo-fire/story?id=14851553