BERLIN (AP) — A fire raced through a zoo in western Germany in the first few minutes of the new year, killing more than 30 animals, including apes, monkeys, bats and birds, authorities said. Police said paper sky lanterns launched nearby to celebrate the arrival of 2020 were probably to blame.
Several witnesses saw cylindrical paper lanterns with little fires inside flying in the night sky shortly after midnight Wednesday near the Krefeld Zoo, Gerd Hoppmann, the city's head of criminal police, told reporters.
"People reported seeing those sky lanterns flying at low altitude near the zoo and then it started burning," Hoppmann said.
He said investigators also found used lanterns on the ground that hadn't burned entirely. They were 34 centimeters (o