Police rescue circus animals from burning trailer on Indiana highway

Indiana state troopers and Grant County, Ind., sheriff's officials pose with circus animals Saturday following their rescue from a burning tractor-trailer along an Indiana interstate highway. Photo courtesy Grant County Sheriff's Department/Facebook

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Police and sheriff's officials say they rescued circus animals including zebras and camels on Saturday when a tractor-trailer hauling them caught fire while traveling on an Indiana highway.

Traffic on northbound Interstate 69 near Marion, Ind., was blocked when the vehicle hauling the animals caught fire at 2 a.m., according to the Grant County, Ind., Sheriff's Department.

Officials said Indiana State Trooper Edward Titus and Grant County Deputy Joshua Kennedy entered the trailer and were able to rescue the animals. The pair along with a worker for the Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne, Ind., rescued five zebras, four camels and a miniature horse from the trailer.

"Additional officers on the scene were able to secure all the animals until other trucks rom the Shrine Circus arrived," the sheriff's department said.

No animals were injured or missing, but Titus and Kennedy were treated for smoke inhalation.

The preliminary crash investigation by State Police revealed that an equipment failure was the cause of the fire.

"Grateful to report that all animals involved have been rescued safely. No harm to our furry friends," the Grant County Sheriff's Department posted on Facebook.

The truck fire kept the interstate's northbound lanes closed until 6:30 a.m.