The Grant County Sheriff's Office in Indiana noted that "all animals were uninjured"
Authorities in Indiana sprung into action early Saturday morning when a trailer filled with live circus animals caught fire on an interstate.
Edward Titus, an Indiana state trooper, spotted a blazing semi-truck and trailer while patrolling Interstate 96 shortly after 2:00 a.m., according to the Grant County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page.
The sheriff's office's post about the incident noted that the truck's driver, 57-year-old Armando C. Alvarez, had "safely" left the vehicle, which was "engulfed in flames" by the time law enforcement arrived at the scene. Officers responding to the fire quickly learned that the burning trailer was filled with animals from the Shrine Circus. In response, Titus and a deputy entered the trailer and saved the animals from the flames, including five zebras, four camels, and a miniature horse.
Additional officers helped with the rescue, according to the Grant County Sheriff's Office, by keeping the animals secure until circus personnel arrived to collect the creatures.
"It's not something we see every day," Brent Ressett, a deputy with the Grant County Sheriff's Office, said of the fiery rescue, per NBC News.
Following a cleanup, roads closed by the blaze opened back up around 6:30 a.m.
"The preliminary crash investigation by Trooper James Wilkison revealed that an equipment failure was the cause of the fire," the Grant County Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook.
The agency added that several members of law enforcement who took part in the rescue were treated for smoke inhalation and later released; all animals pulled from the trailer left the fire uninjured.
Steve Trump, a circus director for the Mizpah Shrine Circus, told NBC that the animals were headed from Florida to Fort Wayne for weekend performances. Trump added that the truck stopped on the highway to check a problem and that the fire spread. While the truck was destroyed, another transported the animals to Fort Wayne's Memorial Coliseum. "I was thrilled that things worked out that way," Trump told NBC News.
Photos and video from the rescue shared on Facebook by the Grant County Sheriff's Office show the smoking trailer and zebras and camels walking near the side of the interstate with officers watching nearby.
"More snapshots from this morning's remarkable animal rescue on I-69! Grateful for our tight-knit community rallying together during challenging times," the agency wrote on Facebook while sharing images from the rescue. "Let's continue spreading the positivity!"
Body cam footage from the rescue shows police entering the vehicle with their flashlights and rushing to bring zebras to safety away from the flames.
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"Body cam captured the risky I-69 rescue involving camels, zebras, and a miniature horse from this weekend. Deputy Kennedy, Trooper Titus, Sergeant Meeks, the Driver, and others risked their lives to save these animals," the Grant County Sheriff's Office wrote. "We are proud of all those who participated in this event."
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