Photo Courtesy of the Indiana State Police
Staff report from Indiana State Police press release
PERU, IN – In the early hours of January 27, 2024, Indiana State Police Trooper Edward Titus, patrolling I-69 near the 263 mile-marker in Grant County, encountered a 2012 Volvo semi-truck and trailer on fire.
Trooper Titus quickly located the driver, identified as Armando C. Alvarez, 57, from Sarasota, Florida, who had safely exited the vehicle. To their surprise, Trooper Titus discovered that the trailer was transporting animals from the Shrine Circus.
Trooper Titus and Grant County Deputy Joshua Kennedy entered the trailer and rescued five zebras, four camels, and a miniature horse. Additional officers on the scene assisted in securing the animals until other trucks from the Shrine Circus arrived.
After extinguishing the fire, cleanup crews worked to clear the scene. All lanes were reopened at approximately 6:30 a.m., with traffic diverted from I-69 northbound at the 259 mile marker to State Road 22 during the road closure. The preliminary crash investigation by Trooper James Wilkison revealed that an equipment failure caused the fire.
Trooper Titus and Deputy Kennedy were transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation treatment and were later released without further injury. Mr. Alvarez and all the animals emerged from the incident unharmed.
The Indiana State Police Peru Post led the response effort, with support from 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.