Animals die in petting park fire

Animals have died after a fire broke out at a petting park on a country estate near Bristol.

The Old Down Country Park closed on Saturday after its petting park, which houses animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits, caught fire.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AFRS) said it attended the incident near Foxholes Lane at about 03:00 BST and left at around 06:00 BST.

In a statement, the country park did not confirm the number of animals killed, but said it was supporting its team members who had been "deeply" affected by the deaths of their "beloved animals".

Fire 'not deliberate'

On Facebook, Old Down Country Park said it was "saddened" by the incident.

"We are relieved to learn that the fire was not deliberate and thank the emergency services for their swift response," it said.

"Yesterday, our priority was that of our team's welfare and ensuring we communicated directly with them as, understandably, they were deeply affected, particularly those that care day-to-day for the animals' welfare.

"We ask for sensitivity to our team as we reopen today and in the coming week as we rebuild."

ASFR group manager Matthew Osborne said: "We attended a fire in what turned out to be a barn at Old Down Country Park on Saturday, at 03:00 BST.

"We sent three fire engines from Thornbury, Avonmouth and Patchway and firefighters used high pressure hoses.

"We left at around 06:00 BST and then came back for a re-inspection at around 10:00 BST to check we did a thorough job.

"Animals were involved in the incident."

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