An elephant which was forced onto a Quebec highway due to a truck fire, April 28, 2012.
Credits: QMI AGENCY/DAVE KIDD
A fire broke out on a tractor trailer belonging to Montreal-based Cirque Mondo on Highway 138 near Baie-Saint-Paul, about 95 km east of Quebec City.
"It was pretty impressive -- we won't see that very often," said Alain Gravel, the director of public safety for Baie-Saint-Paul.
A defect in the truck's engine is believed to be responsible for the fire, which completely destroyed the tractor.
"When my team and I arrived on site, the trainer had already released the animals from the trailer," Gravel said.
The animals were not injured in the fire, he said.
And, despite the circumstances, "the animals were surprisingly very calm," Gravel said, noting they did not seem impressed by the snow.
The animals were moved to an emergency stop area to wait for new transportation to arrive on scene.
It took firefighters almost three hours to clean up the mess, and the highway was closed for much of the afternoon. Some of the passing motorists stopped to take photos of the unusual sight.
Cirque Mondo is slated to perform Monday at the Conrad-Parent arena in Sept-Iles.