CHESTER Zoo have expressed their thanks for the support they have received following Saturday's fire in one of their enclousres. 

Videos circulating on social media showed flames and smoke billowing out of the zoo's Monsoon Forest habitat at around midday. 

Cheshire Fire and Rescue have now confirmed that there are no injuries as a result of the incident. 

A spokesperson said: “At 11.28am on Saturday December 15 emergency services received reports of a large fire at Chester Zoo.

“The blaze was in the Monsoon Forest Habitat on the site, which is the UK’s largest zoo building.

“Due to the scale of the fire this was declared a major incident.  The zoo was immediately evacuated and a cordon was put in place.

“Crews – wearing breathing apparatus and using main jets – brought the fire under control and it has now been extinguished.

“Firefighters remain at the scene to dampen down.

“One person has suffered minor smoke inhalation.  

“There are no reports of any other injuries at this time.

“The zoo’s teams are now assessing the situation.  

“They have confirmed that critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and other mammals are all accounted for and being looked after by the zoo specialist conservationists and vets.”

Detective Superintendent Pete Shaw said:  “Emergency services remain at the scene and we are continuing to work alongside staff at the zoo.

“I would like to reassure people that there is no risk to public safety as a result of this incident.

“Every effort has been made to minimise disruption in the local area and I would also like to thank members of the public for their co-operation and understanding.

“I would also like to thank staff at the zoo for their swift response and for all of their help and assistance in bringing this situation under control.”

A spokesperson for Chester Zoo said: “Yesterday was one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo’s long history.

"The remarkable efforts from the zoo team and the emergency services meant the fire was extinguished as quickly as possible.

"Visitors were evacuated immediately and we would like to thank them for their understanding and cooperation.

"Thankfully, no staff or public were harmed in the incident.

"Keepers were able to encourage all mammal species away from the fire and to safety - including the zoo’s group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills.

"We are though, devastated to say that we were unable to save some of our insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire.

"It’s absolutely heart-breaking to lose any animal, especially when conservationists have worked so hard to breed these wonderful species.

"New homes have been found within the zoo for all of the animals that were led to safety and our teams are working around the clock to relocate them as soon as possible.

"The strength and support from the public has been incredibly overwhelming and the messages of goodwill have been of great comfort to our teams.

"We will support each other in rebuilding this part of the zoo and continue our mission of preventing extinction.

"The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but we will be helping the relevant authorities with the investigation that will take place over the coming days and weeks.

"We would again, like to thank the emergency services for their swift response."

If you would like to support the Zoo's efforts following the fire, visit their JustGiving page.