But the circus animals were quickly rescued from the flaming vehicle near Baie-St-Paul.
Animal protection officials helped get the two big cats into cages, while the elephant was kept on a leash by the side of the road, said a spokesman for Quebec provincial police.
"For reasons still unknown, the fire broke out while the truck was still moving," Sgt. Claude Denis said in an interview.
"The driver of the truck and the animals were not injured."
The truck was nearly completely destroyed in the fire, which broke out shortly after 12 p.m. Saturday.
Police were working to find another vehicle to transport the animals, part of a small circus touring the area.
Alain Gravel, head of the local fire department, acknowledged the scene was a little out of the ordinary. Fortunately, he said, no one was injured and everything went smoothly.
"All the animals were very calm," he said.
Note to readers: This is a corrected version. A previous story wrongly said the accident occurred Sunday.
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