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Ripley’s Aquarium: 10,000 Animals Left Behind After Fire Erupts Nearby

Tue, November 29, 2016 8:27am EDT by 5 Comments
Ripley's Aquarium Fire
Courtesy of Twitter

Workers were forced to evacuate Ripley’s Aquarium in Tennessee on the evening of Nov. 28 after fires erupted nearby in Galtlinburg. But, sadly, more than 10,000 animals were left behind as the employees all got out safely.

At least 30 buildings were engulfed in flames in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Nov. 28, forcing those in nearby structures, like Ripley’s Aquarium, to evacuate. While many workers refused to leave as the animals remained trapped inside, they eventually were all out safely by midnight, with 10, 518 species still in the building.

“They were force evacuated,” the aquarium’s General Manager, Ryan DeSear, told WBIR. “To them, every animal has a name. You don’t give that up.” As of 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 29, Ryan said it was still unclear if flames reached the aquarium, but the web cam was still up and running and the building was still standing. He also confirmed that the fire was only 50 yards away when he and his employees evacuated the night before.

“Nothing is more important than human life,” the GM explained, sadly adding, “Fish can be replaced. It sucks.” Because the generator was fully fueled and running when staff left, the animals can survive for 24 hours, as long as the aquarium doesn’t catch on fire. Obviously, Ryan and his employees are incredibly anxious to get back inside.

Meanwhile, the city of Gatlinburg has been left completely devastated by these terrifying wildfires, with motorists packing the roads trying to escape on Monday night. The Fire Department called for a mandatory evacuation of the downtown area, according to USA Today, and the nearby theme park, Pigeon’s Forge, is being watched closely. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this horrible tragedy.

HollywoodLifers, do you think the animals will be okay? Do you think it was the right move for the workers to evacuate?