Zoo’s Boiler Break Kills Exotic, Rare Birds

FRIDAY, JAN. 6, 1995

A boiler malfunction at the St. Louis Zoo’s Bird House caused the deaths of 13 exotic birds, two on the endangered species list.

A water gauge failed to register a low water level, causing the boiler to run dry and emit toxic fumes, the zoo said Wednesday.

Electricians found the dead birds Monday. Two were kingfishers that were part of an international breeding program.

About 500 birds live in the Bird House.

“We thought we had checks and balances. In fact, we had two sets of checks and balances, and they both failed,” said Charlie Hoessle, executive director of the zoo.

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