(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) — Drivers and fire officials were caught off guard early Monday when they responded to a tractor-trailer fire and found not one, but three African elephants.
The elephants, which were evacuated from the vehicle, were captured standing along Interstate 24 in Georgia, just across the border from Tennessee.
The owners were able to get the elephants out of the attached trailer safely and to the side of the road without any problem. None of the animals were injured in the fire.
Battalion Chief Lesley Morgan of the Chattanooga Fire Department described the elephants on Facebook as “HUGE, but well behaved” and said they ate hay by the roadside while officials battled the blaze.
Morgan told ABC News that the elephants are privately owned by the couple who were hauling them, who adopted the animals after they were orhpaned as babies. They traveled the countries doing educational shows and were heading to Florida for warmer weather when the vehicle caught fire.
The tractor-trailer’s engine caught fire while the couple were driving, Morgan said. When they noticed the flames, they pulled to the side of the road and evacuated the anaimals, Morgan added.
Tracy Beavers, a Puckett EMS paramedic, captured a photo of the animals standing by the road. She told ABC News no flash was used to take the picture due to concern of spooking the elephants.
The owners were able to get another tractor to the location of the fire. From there, the elephants boarded into the trailer and continued on to Sarasota, Florida.
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