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'We Are Heartbroken': Raging Barn Fire Kills 2 Giraffes at DC Zoo

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On Monday, a fire broke out in one of the barns at Roer’s Zoofari in Reston, Virginia. First responders were quickly on the scene, battling the two-story blaze.

“First arriving reported fire from the roof and on two floors of a 2-story barn,” the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department posted. “Unknown at this time if any animals in barn. Hunter Mill Rd/Cobble Mill Rd closed. Avoid area.”

About an hour and a half later, the fire department gave a sad update along with a short video of the state of the barn.

“The fire is under control,” the department posted. “Tragically, two giraffes were found deceased. No other animals injured, and all are being attended to by zoo staff. No reported firefighter injuries at this time. Fire investigators on scene.”

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It wasn’t long after that that the small zoo broke the news to its followers, confirming that their two giraffes had been killed in the fire.

“Tonight the Roer’s Zoofari staff and family are devastated following a barn fire that claimed the life of our beloved giraffe, ‘Waffles’ and his new giraffe companion yet to be named,” the post read.

“Zoofari owner, Vanessa Roer, received the call at 5:30 PM from Fairfax County dispatch that the barn where the giraffes was housed in caught fire.

“Staff and the zoo’s veterinarian arrived within minutes to help rescue and care for approximately 20 other animals housed in the same area. We are grateful that no staff members or other Zoofari animals were injured or lost.”

“Thank you to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department for responding so quickly.”

Hundreds have commented to express their sorrow over the loss of the animals, especially Waffles, who was a crowd favorite.

“Waffles was a favorite with our visitors and our team. We are heartbroken,” the zoo said in a statement.

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Some guests recalled enjoying interacting with and feeding the gentle giant, sharing stories and photos about their families meeting him in better times.

Though a cause has not yet been shared, investigators are working to determine what started the blaze. For the time being, the zoo will be closed.

“Please note that Zoofari will be closed until further notice,” the post continued. “Thank you for all of your support and condolences to our zoo family during this time.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking