MOSCA, Colo. — Multiple reptiles, birds and cats were killed in fire at a southern Colorado reptile park Tuesday morning.
Alamosa County 911 dispatch received a call around 4:35 a.m. Tuesday about a fully involved fire inside a large building at Colorado Gators Reptile Park, according to Alamosa County Sheriff Robert Jackson.
The Mosca-Hooper Voulnteer Fire Department responded to the park to battle the fire. Mutual aid was called in from Center and Alamosa Fire Departments, Sheriff Jackson said.
Colorado Gators Reptile Park is located east of State Highway 17 and Alamosa County Road 109 North between Hooper and Mosca.
The fire was contained to the large building on the park's property, Jackson said.
The Gator Farm said the fire was in the reptile barn, and that most of the rescue snakes, lizards, tortoises, parrots and cats died. Three dwarf caiman and several turtles and tortoises were rescued by firefighters.
Several alligators were in an outside enclosure when the fire started, Jackson said. Those alligators were not harmed in the fire. No other injuries have been reported.
"All of the other alligators and crocodiles outside that building are fine, everything in the fish building the turtles and fish and sharks are fine. We are devastated. But there is positive to focus on," the park said.
"And we have hundreds of animals that are healthy that we still need to take care of. Prayers are appreciated. We will get through this. Can't change it we just have to deal with it and go on.
"The damage is extensive and the cleanup will take a while but we will go on. A huge thanks to Mosca-Hooper Fire Department for keeping it from spreading to other structures and saving what you could."
Fire at Colorado Gator Farm destroys reptile barn
Going to the Colorado Gator Farm is more than just a tourist attraction for Christina Marquez and her family. She was saddened to hear about the fire.
"I was wanting to cry because it's something we've done for so long," said Marquez said.
For the past 25 years, it's been a summer tradition.
"It was more like they were our family also," she said. "They kind of just made that environment to where everybody's welcome and it doesn't matter where you're from."
Marquez said she has memories at the Gator Farm from when she was just 6 years old, the same age as her daughter now, who also loves to see all the reptiles and animals.
She said they're not giving up hope that they can continue sharing this special tradition with their family.
"Hopefully this summer when we go, we're able to see them again," Marquez said. "We love you guys, and let's see how everybody can help."
The Gator Farm started a GoFundMe to help rebuild. In the online post, Mark Young said his family has rescued close to 1,000 orphaned animals over the last 40 years.
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