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Circus animals rescued from semi-truck fire on Indiana highway

Ten circus animals were rescued after a semi-truck transporting their trailer caught fire on an Indiana highway, authorities said.

An Indiana state trooper patrolling Interstate 69 came upon the cab of the semi-truck "engulfed in flames" shortly after 2 a.m. ET, state police said in a news release.

PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Grant County Sheriff's Office - Marion, IN)
PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Grant County Sheriff's Office - Marion, IN)

The driver had safely exited the truck, though the animals -- five zebras, four camels and a miniature horse from the Shrine Circus -- were still inside the trailer, police said.

A state trooper, Grant County deputy and a circus member were able to rescue the animals from the trailer, police said.

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Additional officers were able to secure the animals until other trucks from Shrine Circus arrived.

The trooper and deputy were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and later released, police said. The driver and animals were uninjured.

PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Grant County Sheriff's Office - Marion, IN)
PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Grant County Sheriff's Office - Marion, IN)
PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Indiana State Police)
PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Indiana State Police)

The preliminary crash investigation determined that an equipment failure caused the fire, state police said.

Highway traffic was closed for several hours before reopening around 6:30 a.m. ET.

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Multiple agencies assisted in the incident.

"Grateful for our tight-knit community rallying together during challenging times," the Grant County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post while sharing photos from the scene.

PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Grant County Sheriff's Office - Marion, IN)
PHOTO: Several circus animals were rescued from a trailer after a semi-truck caught fire in Grant County, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 2024. (Grant County Sheriff's Office - Marion, IN)

Marion Police also shared photos from the rescue.

"All zebras & camels are safe and our public safety professionals of all stripes worked together to get over the hump on this job!!!" the department said in a Facebook post.

Circus animals rescued from semi-truck fire on Indiana highway originally appeared on abcnews.go.com