New Animal Hospital Reopens and Zoo Honors Chesterfield Firefighters One Year After the Fire

Jun 27, 2024

It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since the destructive fire at the zoo on June 4, 2023. We’ve come a long way and have now reached the crowning milestone.

We are happy to report all the facilities destroyed in the fire are rebuilt and operational. This includes our zookeeper building, maintenance workshop, and the animal hospital which most recently opened. Excluding a few finishing touches, the buildings are finished.

The improved hospital contains a treatment area, surgery room, animal holding and quarantine spaces, offices, and a new lab. The hospital was built in the same place as the original, but larger and taller. We added a double-wide door to the front to make it easier to bring in large animals for treatment. This hospital is more functional and better equipped to handle the zoo’s veterinary needs as we grow.

After completing the buildings, we were ready and eager to invite back the heroes who helped save the zoo.

Last Friday, we hosted a first responders appreciation event for the Chesterfield County firefighters who worked the night of the zoo fire. The firefighters and their families visited the zoo, stayed for dinner, and met some of the animals saved that night.

We gathered and honored their heroic efforts to stop the fire. Our zoo director and animal care manager shared stories from that night and expressed personal gratitude. We showed photos of the finished buildings and watched videos of the fire. We presented a plaque and banner signed by zoo team members to Battalion Chief Wayne Bowen for the department.

It was rewarding for all involved to reunite under happier circumstances.