Four bears and a many snakes were quickly moved to safety Sunday morning when an air conditioning unit in the Okefenokee Swamp Park Nature Center building malfunctioned and began to put out heavy smoke, said Ware County Fire Capt. Joe McPhaul.
Firefighters were dispatched to the building at 9:37 a.m. and arrived at 9:56.
“When I drove up there were four bears standing out there and a lady holding snakes. I said to myself this is not your typical Sunday morning fire call,” said McPhaul. “Luckily the staff was on hand when it happened and did a good job of getting the animals out and cutting off the power.”
The area of concern was in the attic. McPhaul said an AC unit experienced some type of problem and filled the building with heavy smoke. Damage was estimated at about $1,000 but no structure damage was reported.
Nobody was hurt and all of the animals were brought to safety.
“Luckily, they have a contingency plan to get all the animals to safety. They were actually feeding the animals when the problem started,” said McPhaul. “But they are back open and everything is fine at the Okefenokee Swamp Park.”
McPhaul said the Nature Center building is located near the amphitheater in the park.