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Camels And Zebras Roam Free On Highway After Escaping Circus Truck Fire

An unexpected truck fire caused quite the circus on an Indiana interstate Saturday.

A semitrailer transporting wild animals for a weekend of circus performances reportedly caught fire around 2 a.m., spurring Grant County law enforcement to spring into action — and rescue five zebras, four camels and a miniature horse wandering Interstate 69.

“Grateful to report that all animals involved have been rescued safely,” the Grant County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook. “No harm to our furry friends.”

A state trooper patrolling the highway spotted the burning truck, full of live cargo bound for Mizpah Shrine Circus. Together, a pair of officers and a member of the circus helped to corral the wandering herd as the fire continued.

In a video posted by the sheriff’s department, zebras feed themselves from roadway median grass as firefighters arrive.

A preliminary crash investigation suggests “an equipment failure” caused the fire, which spurred the circus to send replacement trucks to retrieve the animals.

The animals were being transported from Florida to Fort Wayne when the blaze began.
The animals were being transported from Florida to Fort Wayne when the blaze began.

The animals were being transported from Florida to Fort Wayne when the blaze began.

“It’s not every day you get to see camels and zebras and mini-horses on an interstate,” Indiana State Police Sergeant Steven Glass told USA Today.

Two officers were reportedly treated for smoke inhalation but later released from a hospital. The driver similarly survived without any injuries. The interstate’s northbound lanes reopened later Saturday morning.

Mizpah Shrine Circus’ circus director Steve Trump told The Associated Press that the animals were being transported from Florida to Fort Wayne for a month of weekend performances in Marion, 60 miles from Indianapolis.

In the end, first responders Saturday got to see a show for free.

“Grateful for our tight-knit community rallying together during challenging times,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook, along with more photos of the rescue.

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