The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office says a fire Monday afternoon that killed a number of animals at Little Ponderosa Zoo was accidental and likely electrical in nature.
The sheriff’s office said in a release Tuesday it appears the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction at the rear of the barn.
A spokesperson did not know how many animals died in the fire, but asked people to continue to keep owner James Cox, his family, and everyone else at the zoo in their thoughts and prayers.
Cox, zoo employees and volunteers have been on site for hours working, clearing debris, taking care of the surviving animals and setting up a donated tent as a temporary barn.
“It’s a great feeling to know you have a community standing behind you and supporting you on probably the worst day of your life,” said Cox.
Donations are continuing to come in everything from food for the animals, hay from local farmers and even monetary donations from local businesses. Ace Hardware in Clinton set up donation jars in support.
“It’s been crazy, seeing everything on social media everyone jumping in to help it’s an all in effort,” said Matthew Thompson with Ace Hardware Clinton.
Cox said he has been overwhelmed with emotion, losing the barn and mourning the loss of animals, but he wants the community to know he is so grateful for their support.
“I want thank everyone who has texted or called. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We’ll survive and we’ll come back,” said Cox.
Previous story: Animals killed in Anderson County zoo fire
The fire broke out Monday just after noon at the zoo’s main barn. The barn housed around 200 animals and officials say 75 percent were saved.
Two adult tigers kept at Little Ponderosa were in their enclosure about 75 yards away. The tigers were not injured and their enclosure was not damaged.
The zoo posted to Facebook Tuesday they have lost all their animal food, hay, food bowls, waterers, phones and more and are in desperate need of donations.
To make a monetary donation, you can visit the zoo’s website.