Tennessee’s Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was shut down yesterday because of concerns about the wildfires that have been ravaging the state.


The aquarium evacuated all its employees and will remain closed until the evacuation has been lifted. Officials, however, have said that all of the more than 10,500 the animals at the aquarium are safe.

“As long as we have fuel in our generators, that aquarium can run on its own,” said Ryan DeSear, the attraction’s general manager. According to reports, the fire was only 50 yards away from the building when employees fled. Many wanted to remain with the animals, but were forced to leave their posts. “They were [forced to evacuate],” said DeSear. “To them, every animal has a name. You don’t give that up.”

A Facebook post today from the official account of the aquarium declared all animals safe, though the building will remain closed.


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