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Meerkat, bats and tortoises killed in fire at wildlife sanctuary

Credit: Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

A meerkat, fruit bats and three tortoises have died in a fire at a Staffordshire wildlife centre.

Emergency services were called to Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre in Eccleshall, after a fire broke out in one of the enclosures at around 5.45am today.

The centre has paid tribute to their 'darling' meerkat named Basil, a family of fruit bats and giant tortoises - Todd, Thelma and Louise.

The fire was cause by an electrical fault in the heating equipment within the enclosure.

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"One enclosure was well alight on arrival. Sadly three tortoises and a meerkat could not be saved. The fire affected power cables, some neighbouring properties were without power. "The cause of the fire was an electrical fault in the heating equipment within the enclosure."

– Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman