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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 December 2006, 12:09 GMT
Sea centre staff save creatures
Hawaiian Reef fish
Fish in the tropical tanks live in water heated to 24C
Hundreds of exotic fish at Birmingham's Sea Life Centre have been saved by staff after a power cut put their lives at risk.

A loss of power on Saturday had left tropical species like giant turtles and sharks facing death as temperatures in their tanks began to drop.

Staff managed to divert extra power from emergency generators before power was restored early on Sunday morning.

Centre manager Ian Crabbe said he would ask why supplies were off for so long.

Mr Crabbe said none of the creatures in the centre had suffered any ill affects.

'Very relieved'

Power was lost in the early hours of Saturday morning after a fire in a sub station in Ladywood.

A total of 8,500 businesses and homes lost power in the centre of Birmingham. Most had power restored by early afternoon on Saturday but the Sea Life Centre was one of six properties left without supplies.

The centre had emergency generators but these could only circulate water and supply oxygen, they could not maintain the full temperatures in the vast fish tanks.

But Mr Crabbe said centre staff were able to divert power from the emergency generators to the boilers so that water temperatures were kept above critical levels for the tropical fish.

Mains power was restored just after 0100 GMT on Sunday.

"It's down to the hard work of staff that we didn't suffer any mortalities of creatures, it's really good news," said Mr Crabbe.

"We're very relieved because creatures were at risk. It was a harrowing day on Saturday.

"We did have contingencies which we were able to use and we were thankful they came off."

Cabling repair needed

He said water temperatures would be back to normal by the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, the centre was open and operating as normal.

He added he would be asking electricity supplier Central Networks why supplies to the centre were not reconnected sooner.

"I would have thought we were absolutely a priority because we could've lost creatures," he said.

A spokeswoman for Central Networks said that electricity to other properties had been restored earlier by diverting supplies but that was not possible for the connection to the Sea Life Centre.

A permanent repair to cabling was necessary to reconnect the centre, she said.

"Reconnecting the centre was absolutely a priory and we had engineers working on it throughout the day and night, it took time to complete that repair," she said.

"Our engineers were in regular contact with the centre and we had one of our staff at the centre until supplies were reconnected.

"We will be discussing with them how this can be avoided in future," she said.

Inside Birmingham's Sea Life Centre

Fish saved after power restored
17 Dec 06 |  West Midlands
Power cut threatens lives of fish
16 Dec 06 |  West Midlands
Fire causes blackouts across city
16 Dec 06 |  West Midlands
Vandals cause massive power cut
31 Jul 06 |  West Midlands

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