Animals at Ripley's Aquarium are OK after wildfires - WSMV News 4

Animals at Ripley's Aquarium are OK after wildfires

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -

Aquarium officials in wildfire-threatened Gatlinburg, Tennessee, say they have a team of biologists inside the facility and that all of the 10,000 fish and other animals are safe.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies made the announcement in a statement Tuesday, hours after workers had to flee the building when wildfires fueled by high winds spread across parts of eastern Tennessee. More than 14,000 people in the city were forced to leave and an entire resort was wiped out by the fire. A dozen people were injured but no deaths have been reported.

Aquarium officials say police escorted an "emergency team" back into the facility to check on the animals Tuesday.

The aquarium will remain closed until the evacuation orders are lifted. Officials say more than 2 million people visit the aquarium each year.

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