breaking news

Child, age 2, found outside home unconscious; opioid overdose suspected

Gatlinburg wildfire threatens Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies; employees forced to abandon building


Update: All of the animals at the Ripley Aquarium are safe, officials announced on the aquarium's Facebook page. The aquarium will be closed until the evacuation has been lifted. 

>> UPDATED STORY: Gatlinburg aquarium: 'Animals are safe' after devastating Tennessee wildfires

For the safety of our employees and guests, all of our Attractions will remain closed until the evacuation has lifted....

Posted by Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Original post: Thousands of animals at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies are being threatened by wildfires that have destroyed hotels, homes and businesses.

But the aquarium, which houses more than 10,500 animals, is still standing, WBIR reported.

Ryan DeSear, Tennessee Ripley Attractions general manager told the television station that he wasn't sure if the flames reached the building, but said the webcams were still broadcasting overnight Monday and that the building itself was still there.

"As long as we have fuel in our generators, that aquarium can run on its own," DeSear said.

The aquarium is built on a bunker and steps were taken to ensure the safety of the animals, WATE reported.

The fire was only 50 yards from the building when workers were forced to leave their stations.

Many vowed not to leave because they didn't want to leave the animals behind.

"They were (forced to evacuate). To them, every animal has a name. You don't give that up," DeSear said.

He was one of the last to leave the building Monday evening. He said he checked on the animals before he left and all were acting normally.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Michael Kors purchases Jimmy Choo for $1.35 billion
Michael Kors purchases Jimmy Choo for $1.35 billion

Fashion brand Michael Kors announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire footwear and accessories brand Jimmy Choo for $1.35 billion. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, according to a company statement. Founded in 1996 by former British Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon and...
Couple's quest to visit every Cracker Barrel in America nears end
Couple's quest to visit every Cracker Barrel in America nears end

An Indiana couple have nearly completed their decades-long quest to visit every one of the 665 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations across the United States, according to multiple reports. Ray and Wilma Yoder, both 80, have only one location left to visit: a Cracker Barrel in Tualatin, Oregon, The Lebanon Democrat and the “Today&rdquo...
Man tries abducting 7-year-old girl outside Florida store using a puppy
Man tries abducting 7-year-old girl outside Florida store using a puppy

A Central Florida man was arrested on Sunday after he attempted to lure a 7-year-old girl into his motor home with a puppy, police said.  Dale Collins, 63, allegedly approached the girl outside of a Publix supermarket in Haines City, near Lakeland. He asked her, “Where is your dad at?” and added she could see his puppy inside his camper...
Read John McCain’s speech on his return to the Senate after his cancer diagnosis
Read John McCain’s speech on his return to the Senate after his cancer diagnosis

Sen. John McCain, (R-Arizona), returned to the Senate for the first time since he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer to cast a vote to start the debate on a bill that could repeal Obamacare. McCain received a standing ovation when he entered the chamber to vote, and after he delivered his speech. Here is the speech as prepared for...
Former House Speaker John Boehner calls hard right conservatives ‘knucklehead caucus’
Former House Speaker John Boehner calls hard right conservatives ‘knucklehead caucus’

Former House Speaker John Boehner assailed GOP House arch conservatives led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as the “knucklehead caucus,” calling them “anarchists” who stand “for nothing.” During a speech in Las Vegas, Boehner took aim at the conservatives who pushed him from office at the end of 2015. Jordan was among...
More Stories