MAQUOKETA, Iowa — U.S. 61 in Maquoketa was closed down about 45 minutes Monday afternoon after the wheels on a semi pulling a loaded cattle truck caught fire.

Fire Chief Mark Beck said the back duals of the semi caught fire, possibly from the brakes overheating, at 1:14 p.m. Monday. The fire department, Maquoketa Police and Iowa State Patrol were at the scene for three hours.

Beck said two of the cattle fell through the floor of the trailer because of the fire. Dr. Khristian Becker of Maquoketa was called to euthanize the animals. There were about 40 cattle on the trailer. He said Bob Garien from BG Salvage brought another semi and trailer to unload and load the remaining cattle.

Beck said the driver of the truck pulled onto the shoulder of the road and firefighters had to secure the vehicle because it was leaning toward the ditch.

Iowa State Patrol troopers closed the highway for periods of time over a three-hour time span that officials said totaled about 45 minutes. The name of the livestock company or driver were not available. No one was injured.

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