Circus Animals Rescued from Tractor Trailer Fire

Grant County- On January 27th, just after 2:00 a.m., Trooper Edward Titus was patrolling I-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.

After the fire was extinguished, crews began cleaning up the scene. All lanes were opened at approximately 6:30 a.m. During the road closure, traffic was diverted from I-69 northbound at the 259 mile-marker to State Road 22. The preliminary crash investigation by Trooper James Wilkison revealed that an equipment failure was the cause of the fire.

Trooper Titus and Deputy Kennedy were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and later released without further injury. Mr. Alvarez and all animals were uninjured.  

The Indiana State Police Peru Post was assisted by other members of the Indiana State Police Fort Wayne Post, Indiana State Police Pendleton Post, the Marion Police Department, Markel Police Department, Warren Police Department, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Upland Volunteer Fire Department, Matthews Volunteer Fire Department, Indiana Department of Transportation, Losure’s Towing, and Marion Health.                                     

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