Komodo dragon dies in San Antonio zoo reptile house fire

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (REUTERS) - Six reptiles, including a rare Komodo dragon, were killed on Monday in a fire at the San Antonio Zoo likely caused by an electric problem, zoo officials said.

Zoo staff had to move venomous snakes and reptiles to safety after the fire broke out at the two-floor Komodo House, home to about 100 snakes, lizards and other creatures.

"It was a challenge for the firefighters," San Antonio Fire Department spokeswoman Deborah Foster said.

Firefighters tried to keep water usage to a minimum to avoid drowning the animals.

The 150-cm female Komodo dragon, one of the zoo's star attractions, likely died of smoke inhalation, zoo officials said.

The carnivorous Komodo dragon is the world's largest living lizard. It is native to a few volcanic islands in Indonesia and can reach up to 3-metres in length, according to the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

"The Komodo dragon exhibition is closed down probably indefinitely," zoo spokesman Debbie Rios-Vanskike said. "It will get us six to eight months to get that up and running again."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.