PRESCOTT – Firefighters from the Prescott Fire Department responded to a structure fire call from the Heritage Park Zoo on Willow Creek Road in Prescott on Monday night.
One wallaby died from the blaze and one was transported for its injuries to a veterinarian, according to Prescott Fire Battalion Chief Dan Morgan.
“I had some pretty wild thoughts heading out to this call,” Morgan said, adding he was unsure what to expect from a fire at a zoo, with potentially several animals roaming the park freely due to escaping the fire.
“I wasn’t sure if there was a cougar, or a bear pen, or what on fire,” Morgan said.
The one-alarm fire was initially called in around 7 p.m. Monday night by zoo staff members who were getting ready to lock up and leave for the night.
Engine 74 was the first to respond, Morgan said, while engine 73, truck 72 also responded. One truck from the Central Arizona Fire & Medical Authority was in route before being cancelled, Morgan said.
One wallaby had yet to be caught by zoo workers when crews began to wrap up after extinguishing flames that were in a 20-foot by 20-foot “shed-like” structure used as a pen.
“He was pretty elusive,” Morgan said, adding the fire was likely started via a heat lamp used on cold winter nights to help keep the animals warm, but was unsure if it was a malfunction of equipment.
Morgan credited all the zoo volunteers for quickly arriving and helping direct firefighters on where to go, and what was the most immediate danger.
“Thankfully they were on hand, they did a great job,” Morgan said.