Blaze at London Zoo as 70 firefighters tackle flames

More than 70 firefighters took three hours to bring the fire under control while desperate keepers who live on the site in Regent's Park in central London moved animals to safety.

London Zoo also posted an update on Twitter, saying that while things were under control, the zoo would remain closed until further notice.

"Ten fire engines and 72 firefighters and officers have been called to a fire at a cafe and shop at London Zoo", the London Fire Brigade said in an initial statement.

TV footage from the scene showed the Adventure Cafe and shop to be badly damaged.

Misha the aardvark, described as "one of the attraction's best-loved animals", perished in the fire.

Mr Jermey said: "Given the circumstances they are fine but they, like..." We will continue to monitor them over the coming days.

Workers searched in vain for the four missing meerkats throughout the day, but said Saturday evening they were presumed to have died in the blaze, which produced intense flames at first and left a smoky pall over much of the grounds.

"It's too soon to speculate on the cause of the fire but we will be working very closely with fire investigators over the coming days and weeks to ascertain the cause".

A statement said: "Fire crews from Kentish Town, Paddington, Euston, West Hampstead and other surrounding fire stations are at the scene. The zoo with be open tomorrow, Sunday 24 December, from 10am". "There are also four meerkats unaccounted for at this stage, and we have limited access to site to confirm this".

  • Tracy Klein