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Colchester Zoo coffee shop badly damaged after fire breaks out

PUBLISHED: 09:40 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 08 July 2020

The cafe at Colchester Zoo has been badly damaged by a fire. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

The cafe at Colchester Zoo has been badly damaged by a fire. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

: COLCHESTER ZOO

A fire has caused “extensive damage” at a Colchester Zoo coffee shop after a malfunction within the ice cream freezer.

Firefighters responded to a fire in the cafe at Colchester Zoo. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFirefighters responded to a fire in the cafe at Colchester Zoo. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Three fire engines – two from Colchester and one from Stanway – were called to the Playa Patagonia coffee shop at 6.24pm on Tuesday, July 7.

When firefighters arrived, they entered the coffee shop and found the source of the fire behind the serving counter.

They managed to extinguish the fire by 7.15pm and cleared the building of smoke.

A temporary coffee shop wil now be set up in Penguini’s restaurant - but the zoo, which like many others lost huge amounts of income during the Covid-19 crisis, has warned the fire will hit the tourist attraction hard.

A statement from the zoo, which had to remain closed for weeks because of the coronavirus crisis, said: “The source of the fire came from behind the serving counter and unfortunately the coffee shop has suffered extensive damage.

“Due to the location of the shop, this was easily accessible by firefighters from the main road and extinguished by 7.15pm.

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“The cause of the fire has been found to be due to the compressor malfunction within the scoop ice cream freezer.

“As the fire was contained within the coffee shop, the zoo remains a safe and enjoyable place to visit.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to the firefighters who were quickly on hand to extinguish the fire and to clear the building of smoke.

“Any fire incident is devastating and especially during these unprecedented times we are facing. This has added further worry and additional need of fighting for the zoo’s survival.

“We are just grateful that there were no injuries or casualties.”

Watch manager Pete Donovan, said: “As soon as we arrived, firefighters wearing breathing apparatus went into the smoke filled shop to tackle the fire.

“Fire crews managed to get the fire under control quickly, but unfortunately the coffee shop has suffered extensive damage.

“The on-site staff did a fantastic job at raising the alarm and, due to its location, came and met us at the entrance so they could lead us to the building.”

The cause of the fire was found to be accidental and no injuries were reported.


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