UPDATE: Miller Park Zoo python euthanized after smoke exposure during Monday night fire

By Chicago 3 Min Read

UPDATE 5:06 P.M. City of Bloomington spokesperson Katherine Murphy says the zoo’s reticulated python “Nani” was euthanized.

Nani was exposed for longer as the smoke was in the python enclosure. It affected her health so significantly that her prognosis for recovery was poor.

Animal care and vet staff agreed that euthanasia was the correct decision – a difficult decision “due to the heroic efforts of all involved in assisting the animals during the crisis.

Nani was an 11-year-old reticulated python that came to the zoo in January 2017.

During her last exam, she measured 20 feet in length and was 254 pounds and was affectionately described as “sweet but feisty” by zookeepers.

It’s believed she was the longest-reticulated python in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums

UPDATE 10:57 A.M. TUESDAY – Bloomington Fire spokesperson Frank Friend says the source of the smoke and fire came from the python enclosure, which houses a 254-pound, 20-foot python.

Firefighters helped zookeepers in moving animals to a safe area.

The Katthoefer Animal Building also holds several large animals including tigers and primates.

Friend says the fire was small and confined to mulch in the python enclosure.

No firefighters or staff were injured. Friend says all animals are alive and appear well and will be examined by vet staff Tuesday.

“We worked very well with zookeepers to ensure the safety of the animals,” said Bloomington Fire Chief Eric West. “The situation was unique, but our people were up for the challenge.”

The cause of the fire was determined to be a faulty heating element.

Fire at the Miller Park Zoo Monday night

BLOOMINGTON (25News Now) – Firefighters were called Monday evening to put out a smoky fire in a building where animals are housed at city-owned Miller Park Zoo on Bloomington southwest side.

A security guard making his rounds noticed smoke in the historic Katthoefer Animal Building, but apparently the animals are safe, said city spokesperson Katherine Murphy.

She said there were no flames, only smoke.

Firefighters were called about 9:30 p.m. according to police. Officers closed down a section of South Morris Avenue between West Miller and Tanner Streets.

Information about how the fire started and the amount of damage to the building was not available.

The McLean County Museum of History’s website said the Katthoefer Animal Building opened in 1914. Well-known Bloomington architect Arthur L. Pillsbury designed the animal house.

The building was renamed in 1977 to honor Grover and William Katthoefer, who served as park superintendent and zookeeper.

This story will be updated.

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