2 giraffes die in barn fire at Reston zoo

A Reston, Virginia, zoo remains closed until Friday, March 12 after a barn fire killed two giraffes Monday.

The fire at the Fairfax County zoo killed a giraffe named Waffles and his new, yet to be named companion giraffe, the zoo said in a Facebook post.

“Waffles was a favorite with our visitors and our team. We are heartbroken,” said Vanessa Roer, owner of Roer’s Zoofari.

“We are so grateful that no person or other Zoofari animals were injured or lost. And we deeply appreciate the firefighters who came so quickly to help extinguish the fire,” Roer said.

The fire at the zoo on Hunter Mill Road started around 5:30 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they found fire on the roof and on both stories of the two-story barn. The fire involved a lot of hay.

“The 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 tells WTOP.

No other animals are hurt, and zoo staff is tending to them.

Delaney said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Staff at the zoo is being given access to grief counselors.

“Our team is so dedicated to the well-being of every animal, so when any are lost, it’s a very emotional time. We will be supporting each other through the healing,” said Roer.

Roer’s Zoofari, formerly known as Reston Zoo, sits on 30 acres and offers families a variety of activities from feeding the animals to birthday parties to private tours.

Below is the area where it happened.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to WTOP.com in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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