Grant County Sheriff’s Office Officer Reports Animal Rescue Effort at Mizpah Shrine Circus Fire
GRANT COUNTY, Ind. — In the early hours of Saturday morning, a vehicle fire on Interstate 69 involving a semi-tractor-trailer carrying a variety of animals, including camels and zebras, resulted in the closure of both northbound lanes. Responding to the incident around 2 a.m. near Marion, officials from the Indiana State Police and Grant County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) quickly took action to address the situation.
Brent Ressett, a public information officer for the GCSO, confirmed that the animals were from the Mizpah Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered the animals still inside the trailer and immediately initiated a rescue operation. The GCSO later shared photos on Facebook, showcasing the heroic efforts of the officers in rescuing the animals and securing them in the middle grass strip of I-69.
After the successful containment and rescue of all the animals, Ressett reported that two officials were evaluated for smoke inhalation. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. The Indiana State Police confirmed that by 3:30 a.m., all animals were accounted for and safely rescued.
The incident caused significant traffic disruptions, with the crash initially closing all northbound lanes and reducing southbound traffic to just one lane. However, after the fire was extinguished, all lanes were reopened at 6:30 a.m. According to the Indiana State Police, equipment failure was determined to be the cause of the fire.
Sgt. Steven Glass, ISP Peru District’s Public Information Officer, praised the teamwork displayed by the responders, stating, “It’s awesome to see that teamwork that they get together, that they do their job, and they will go inside a trailer that has smoke filling up because the cab is engulfed in flames.” He also acknowledged the unique nature of the incident, as it involved not only a semi fire but also the transportation of exotic animals in the state of Indiana.
The Mizpah Shrine Circus fire serves as a testament to the dedication and bravery of the law enforcement and emergency personnel who responded swiftly to rescue the trapped animals and ensure the safety of all individuals involved.