VISITORS EVACUATED FROM THE SITE AFTER CHEMICAL INCIDENT
BELFAST Zoo evacuated its visitors yesterday as a safety precaution following a chlorine gas leak.
The incident happened at the zoo’s filter house just after 3pm.
All patrons were escorted from the site and the zoo closed early as the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service was called out to deal with the situation.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus made the area safe.
Some of those who were evacuated took to social media following their exit from the Cave Hill attraction.
A spokesman for the Fire Service told the Belfast Telegraph that crews responded to an “accidental chlorine gas release”.
He said: “On arrival the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service consulted with representatives from Belfast Zoo, Belfast City Council and our own specialists.
“We cordoned off the area and evacuated all people from the zoo and then committed crews wearing breathing apparatus and gas-tight suits to ventilate and take readings with a gas moni- tor to ensure the area was made safe.
“The scene was then handed over to the manager from Belfast Zoo and advice was given. “No injuries were reported.” Yesterday evening a spokesman for Belfast Zoo said that it expected the premises to be open as normal today.
He said: “We can confirm that the Fire Service was called to Belfast Zoo on Friday afternoon following an incident at the zoo’s filter house while a chemical treatment company was on site.
“All visitors were escorted safely from the site and the zoo closed early as a precaution.
“We expect the zoo to be open again as normal on Saturday.”
The 55-acre zoo opened in 1934 and is home to more than 1,000 animals and 150 species.
It most recently celebrated the arrival of three critically endangered iguanas.
Before that the zoo hailed the birth of five red squirrel kittens as a major success for its efforts to conserve the native Irish species.
The population has dramatically declined due to the loss of the tree-living rodent’s forest habitats and competition from the non-native grey squirrel, which carries a lethal virus.
Belfast Zoo carries out conservation work both in Northern Ireland and around the world with collaborative breeding programmes.
The Fire Service was called to Belfast Zoo yesterday to deal with incident