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Forty chinchillas die in fire at building in Redbrook Street, Woodchurch, near Tenterden and Ashford

Forty chinchillas died this morning when the building they were being kept in caught fire.

The rodents were in an outbuilding in the grounds of a property in Redbrook Street, Woodchurch, near Tenterden, when the blaze started at 5.30am.

Firefighters tackled the flames but were unable to save the animals.

Chinchilla. Picture: Thinkstock
Chinchilla. Picture: Thinkstock

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said they did not think the fire was started deliberately.

Crews believe the blaze started in a car before spreading to several sheds - including the one the chinchillas were in - as well as a conservatory.

She said: "The building contained approximately 40 chinchillas, which unfortunately all died in the fire.

"The cause of the fire is believed to have been accidental and is believed to have started in a nearby car, spreading to the adjacent sheds and part of the conservatory of a house."

Crews stayed onsite until about 7am.

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