Circus Animals Rescued from Semi-Truck Fire

( – Four camels, a miniature horse, and five zebras had a very lucky escape on January 27th after the truck they were riding in caught fire on a highway in Indiana. A county sheriff’s deputy, a state trooper, and a third person cooperated to get the animals out of their trailer which was filling with acrid smoke.

On leaving the burning vehicle, the animals, which were part of a traveling circus, could be seen grazing along the side of the highway.

The tractor-trailer carrying the animals caught fire at about 2 a.m. on Interstate 69, according to investigators. While the two officers were taken to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, the zebras, camels, and the horse were uninjured by the blaze.

It is not clear what caused the truck to ignite, but the unidentified 57-year-old driver from Sarasota, Florida, was not injured.

The incident shut the highway down until about 6:30 the same morning, after which the wreckage was cleared and the animals were taken away in a different truck.

The Grant County Sheriff’s office took to social media to share video and pictures of the incident, which had, of course, piqued a lot of local interest. Camels and zebras could be seen standing alongside the rescuing officers and grazing in the median and along the highway’s shoulder. The Sheriff’s office posted the message, “No harm to our furry friends.”

The circus animals had been en route from Florida to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to perform in four upcoming circus acts over several weekends. The events were part of an annual fundraiser put on by the Mizpah Shrine Circus to benefit the Shrine Center in Fort Wayne. Circus director Steve Trump said the circus performances help pay upkeep on the Shrine Center, which lets the group direct money from its other fundraisers to help children. The circus and the center are part of the philanthropic charity fraternity Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The fire destroyed the truck transporting the animals, but Trump said they were safe and taken to their destination, and that the circus fundraiser will be mounted as scheduled.

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