3 elephants forced onto Georgia interstate during tractor-trailer fire

Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department

Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department

Three African elephants were forced onto the interstate near the Georgia-Tennessee border Monday morning after a tractor-trailer carrying the animals caught fire, the Chattanooga Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

Firefighters responded to the fire on I-24 East about 2 a.m., officials said.

“The owners got the elephants safely out of the trailer and gave them some hay to munch on while firefighters put the fire out,” the post read.

The animals are owned by Jorge Barreda, Chattanooga Fire Deputy Chief of Operations Richard Boatwright told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The animals, who were not injured, were en route to Sarasota, Fla., at the time of the fire.

The elephants are just the latest animals to find their way onto Georgia highways in the past few months.

Suzy, a 6-year-old Bengal tiger, was shot and killed after roaming a Henry County neighborhood and attacking a dog, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The tiger, who was owned by a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus presenter, escaped from a transport truck carrying 14 other big cats from Florida to Tennessee.

Federal authorities will investigate whether charges should be filed against circus parent company Feld Entertainment and the owner.

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