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Reptile rescue in South Park catches fire, killing several animals

Crews battle fire at Nate's Reptile Rescue
Crews battle fire at Nate's Reptile Rescue 00:37

SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- Several animals are dead after a reptile rescue in South Park caught fire on Monday. 

The Allegheny County Police Department sent out an alert on Facebook shortly before 4:30 p.m., saying crews were battling a large fire in South Park on the 2100 block of Brownsville Road. Officials asked people to avoid the area.  

Alert: Fire crews are currently battling a large fire in South Park on the 2100 block of Brownsville Road. Please avoid the area.

Posted by Allegheny County Police Department on Monday, February 26, 2024

The Allegheny County Sheriff's Office said a deputy on patrol just before 4 p.m. noticed the fire. Deputy Steve Costello notified dispatch, which sent several fire companies to the scene. 

Firefighters rescued several animals, including turtles and at least one alligator, the sheriff's office said. Police estimate that there were 100 animals inside at the time. 

Firefighters carried out animals from Nate's Reptile Rescue after it caught on fire on Feb. 26, 2024.  (Photo: Allegheny County Sheriff's Office)

While several reptiles were rescued, several also died, police said. The exact number isn't known yet. 

"We believe that there has been some loss of life with the animals and that dozens more have been rescued. I don't have an exact number for you yet," said Allegheny County Emergency Services Assistant Chief Steve Imbarlina.

Nate's Reptile Rescue, located at the South Park Fairgrounds, is a state-licensed rescue that helps reptiles and their owners. It takes in rescues, helps remove, relocate and rehabilitate wildlife and educates the public. Last summer, an alligator named "Chomper" that was caught in the Kiski River was destined to become an animal ambassador for the rescue. 

The fire marshal is investigating to determine the fire's origin and cause. No people were hurt. 

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