- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Several reptiles, including a 15-year-old Komodo dragon, were killed by smoke inhalation after a fire filled an enclosed area at the San Antonio Zoo.

Among those killed were Scatha, a crowd-drawing Komodo dragon, two Amazon tree boas, two Solomon Island skinks and a Red Mountain Racer, CNN reported. Almost 100 other animals and reptiles were saved, however, including Scatha’s mate, Bubba.

“Everybody’s got, sort of, a lump in their stomach about it,” said zoo Director Steve McCusker to the 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.”

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, but they’ve narrowed their focus onto a heating device, zoo officials said.

Firefighters were tasked with how to respond — and conduct their mission. KABB reported there were between 25 and 45 poisonous snakes in the facility that was on fire, as well as a 22-foot-long, 350-pound python named Bernice — that had to be carted to safety somehow.

The zoo estimated it will take between six and eight months to fix the enclosure.

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