Indiana State Police report a tractor-trailer loaded with circus animals was destroyed by fire early this morning north of Indianapolis.
A statement from the ISP said this morning, just after 2 a.m., Trooper Edward Titus was patrolling Interstate 69 near the 263 mile-marker. While on patrol, Trooper Titus observed that the cab of a 2012 Volvo semi-truck and trailer was engulfed in flames. Trooper Titus located the driver, who had safely exited the vehicle. The driver was identified to be Armando C. Alvarez, 57, from Sarasota, Florida.
While approaching the semi, Trooper Titus learned that the trailer was loaded with animals from the Shrine Circus. Trooper Titus and Grant County Deputy Joshua Kennedy entered the trailer and were able to rescue the animals. Trooper Titus, Deputy Kennedy, and a member of the Shrine Circus rescued five zebras, four camels, and a miniature horse. Additional officers on the scene were able to secure all the animals until other trucks from the Shrine Circus arrived.
None of the animals were injured.
The preliminary crash investigation by Trooper James Wilkison revealed that an unspecified equipment failure was the cause of the fire.
Titus and Kennedy were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and later released without further injury.