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Komodo dragon, 5 reptiles perish in San Antonio zoo fire

Posted at 8:33 PM, Dec 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-16 20:33:42-05

(CNN) — Scatha, a 15-year-old Komodo dragon, and five other reptiles died Monday after smoke from a fire filled an enclosure at the San Antonio Zoo, a spokeswoman for the zoo said.

In a written statement, Libby Castillo said two Amazon tree boas, two Solomon Island skinks and a Red Mountain Racer also perished. Almost 100 other animals were saved.

“Everybody’s got, sort of, a lump in their stomach about it,” zoo director Steve McCusker told CNN affiliate KSAT. “It’ll affect us, and there will be some really cool stuff off exhibit for a long time that the public won’t get to enjoy.”

The cause of the fire was unknown, but a heating device may be to blame, the zoo said.

Firefighters faced unusual circumstances at the scene, CNN affiliates reported. According to KABB, there were 25 to 45 poisonous snakes in the enclosure. And there was a 22-foot-long, 350-pound reticulated python named Bernice that had to be carried to safety, said KSAT.

The zoo said it will take six to eight months to repair the Komodo exhibit.

Scatha’s mate, Bubba, was rescued as were 92 other lizards and snakes.

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