Skip to comments.Massive Fire Engulfs Gatorland
Posted on 11/06/2006 6:32:12 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A massive fire at one of Central Florida's oldest attractions, Gatorland, engulfed the park's gift shop and damaged other surrounding offices and structures, including the well-known alligator mouth entrance Monday, according to Local 6 News.
"A fire of this magnitude would be dangerous to fight in any situation but now you have to throw in the fact that there are dangerous animals inside -- alligators that are more than likely spooked by the commotion," Local 6's Jessica Sanchez said.
Park official, Heather Goodwin, said firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the gift shop area and apparently flames were not able to spread to areas where alligators and other larger animals were being held at the park.
"The fire is in the gift shop, predominately, and no one has been injured," Goodwin said. "We are not aware of any animals that have been injured at this point but we did have some small salamanders in the gift shop that, of course, we imagine are gone."
Goodwin said the gift shop was not being renovated and she had no idea how the fire could have started.
She said the large mouth entrance apparently was destroyed by flames.
"I can't see through the smoke right now but it doesn't look very promising for the mouth," Goodwin said. "It is a tragedy with these historical structures. I'm sure we can get that mouth reconstructed. Granted, it won't be exactly the same but we will have the mouth back."
Firefighters closed all lanes on Orange Blossom Trail between Gatorland Drive and Hunter's Creek Boulevard.
"Heads up if you are driving to Reedy Creek Elementary School this morning because visibility may be affected by it -- the thick smoke," Local 6's Secily Wilson said.
The investigation into the cause of the fire continues.
About 75 firefighters were trying to extinguish flames in the building at the front of the park.
Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park. It opened as a roadside attraction in 1949.
I've been there before. The place absolutely wreaks. The stench invades every area of the park. Most of the "dangerous" animals appear to be recovering from severe hangovers.
Shame about the gift shop, though.
All through the 50's and 60's I rode the old byways: Highway 19, Highway 41 from Atlanta to St. Pete. Always miss those days. Ever heard of the Goat Man?
Tag line fix from another thread.
Flaming gators, Batman!
Nope, but I just searched and found some websites about him. He sounds like quite a character.
AAM, we're talking about the Goat Man.
Saw him once, with his cavalcade of caprine companions . . .
Have you Googled him? It's amazing what's there. Thanks to scs I tried it and voila!!
If you don't mind, I'm going to use that photograph on my home page, credits to you of course.
I THINK it was the Goat Man who used to carve walking sticks and sell them. I still have one.
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