DRAPER — There was a small fire on the rooftop at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium Sunday. Fortunately, Santa Claus was already in the building to help.
About 12:45 p.m., Unified Fire Authority crews responded to a report of a possible kitchen fire at the aquarium, 12033 S. Lone Peak Parkway (200 West). Once fire crews arrived, they checked the roof of the structure per protocol, said fire spokesman Chris Atkin. That's when they discovered the problem was not in the kitchen.
"Crews found that the fire was actually on the roof. Looks like it was in the roof membrane," he said.
The fire was believed to have started because of a malfunction to an air handling unit, Atkin said. The fire was extinguished quickly and power to the building and the exhibits did not have to be cut.
There were approximately 75 people inside the building at the time, including those attending a Christmas party hosted by the aquarium.
As luck would have it, the person hired to be Santa Claus Sunday is one of the Unified Fire Authority's fire inspectors, Don Buckley. Buckley and his wife were dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Buckley helped evacuate the aquarium and guided firefighters as they responded to the scene and entered the building. The aquarium was closed for the rest of the day but was expected to reopen Monday.
Aquarium employees sent out a tweet Sunday afternoon saying, "All our animals are safe."
Atkin did not have an estimate of the damage caused by the fire.