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Fire Devastates Petting Zoo

By Tim State in News on May 30, 2009 3:14PM

Yesterday was a very sad day for many in the south Suburb of University Park, after a fire broke out in the Riegel Farm petting zoo, which left maybe seventy-five percent of the animals dead.

While the source of the fire remains unknown, officials say the blaze, which broke out at 1 a.m. yesterday, appears to be accidental. Firefighters made a frantic effort to rescue as many of the animals as possible. So frantic, petting zoo employees were still trying to figure out who made it and who didn’t yesterday. One firefighter was injured when he was kicked by a frightened llama.

Of the animals lost were two horses, a bull, a cow, rabbits, chickens, and goats.

The petting zoo is run by the Village’s parks and recreation department, and most of the animals have been donated from area residents after the animals grow too big for their homes or cannot be cared for properly. Since the 1960s, the zoo has become a popular spring and summer destination for families and school children. [Trib, S-T]