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Tractor-trailer carrying elephants catches fire on highway

Photo by a NewsChannel 9 viewer who was on the arriving ambulance, and who wishes not to be named. (WTVC)

Chattanooga firefighters had a moment they'll "never forget" on Interstate 24 in Tennessee early Monday morning.

The Chattanooga Fire Department says a tractor-trailer carrying three African elephants caught fire on I-24 near the Georgia state line at about 2 a.m.

Chattanooga firefighters with Quint 3, Tanker 3, Squad 20 and Squad 1 (Green Shift) responded. So did deputies with the Dade County Sheriff's Department, as it technically happened just across the line in Dade County.

Battalion Chief Lesley Morgan said the tractor was on fire, but the trailer was not. The owners got the elephants safely out of the trailer and gave them some hay to munch on while firefighters put the fire out.

Morgan said the elephants were huge but well-behaved.

With the fire out, the owners made some calls to get another tractor to their location.

After that, they continued on their way to Sarasota, Florida.

Firefighters did not take any photos, for fear of spooking them with the flash. However, a viewer who wishes not to be named captured a good shot of the pachyderms. She says she was on the arriving ambulance and from a safe distance away.

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