Chlorine suspected in reported blast at National Zoo


Fire department officials are investigating a report of an explosion at the National Zoo, but a zoo official says no people or animals were injured.

Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson says a contractor working in a mechanical area next to the beaver and otter exhibits smelled chlorine and left the area Thursday morning. He later heard a bang. She says chlorine is kept in that area for water filtration.

Fire and EMS Department spokesman Timothy Wilson says crews responded to an initial report of a chlorine explosion, but no injuries have been reported. He says crews are trying to determine the cause.

An alarm was sounding and the smell of chlorine hung in the air near a roped-off area along the American Trail early Thursday afternoon.