Photos: IN Firefighters Respond to Overturned Cattle Trailer

Indianapolis firefighters at scene of overturned cattle trailer
Indianapolis firefighters at scene of overturned cattle trailer

Photos and info from Rita Reith

On Monday, July 20, 2020, Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department (IFD) firefighters were dispatched to the scene for an overturned semi with possible entrapment, but the entrapment was unfounded. The tactical response was disregarded, as the driver was out of the truck.  The driver was coming from Kentucky and headed to Iowa with a cattle trailer containing 54 cattle when the vehicle overturned on the interstate.

First-arriving IFD crews tended to the injured driver who was transported to an area hosptial with slight injuries by Beech Grove Medic 57.  The driver’s dog, a seven-year-old, pure bred Australian Cattle Dog named Drifter, was transported by IFD to an animal hospital for boarding until the driver can retrieve him. 

Indiana State Police (ISP) remained on scene and called for a wrecker. Thirty minutes after IFD left the scene, they were requested by ISP to return due to the heat and to provide water for the cattle until they could be re-housed in another trailer.  Engine 11 arrived and requested IFD Tanker 16 for water and Rescue 7 for electric fans to cool the cattle. 

Without a standard protocol for this type of incident, the suggestion was made to call in additional personnel who have experience with cattle: cowboys.  Between the ISP and HIX Wrecker Service, they had enough contacts bring in one small and three large cattle trailers, each which came with a set of cowboys.  The cowboys arrived and brought their own fencing and horses to help corral the cattle into the trailers.  The cattle were moved without incident, save for one that escaped and made it to 20th and Hillside.  Six of the cattle perished in the accident, while 47 were rounded up and returned.

Cowboys and firefighters on scene at the accident
Firefighters work on the roof of the overturned trailer


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RITA L. REITH is a battalion chief with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) and serves as the agency’s public information officer.


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