RESTON, Va. – A Virginia zoo is mourning the loss of two beloved giraffes following a Monday barn fire that has forced the attraction’s closure until Friday.
The blaze claimed the life of a giraffe named Waffles and his new, yet-to-be-named companion giraffe, WTOP reported.
“Waffles was a favorite with our visitors and our team. We are heartbroken,” Vanessa Roer, owner of Roer’s Zoofari, told the TV station.
The zoo first confirmed the blaze and resulting animal deaths in a Facebook post.
“We are grateful that no staff members or other Zoofari animals were injured or lost,” the post stated, noting some 20 other animals had been housed in the same area but were rescued and cared for by staff and the zoo’s veterinarian.
“Grief counselors are being made available for staff, who are devastated by this tragedy and who cared deeply for these members of the Zoofari family,” the post stated.
Responding firefighters saw flames coming from the two-story barn’s roof and both floors, WRIC reported.
“They were able to put the fire out in enough time that all the other animals in the vicinity are safe,” Fairfax County Fire and Rescue spokesman Bill Delaney told WTOP.