Fire crews save people from loo seats, swings and trees

Fire crews save people from loo seats, swings and trees

Firefighters Paul Roberts, front, and Justin Stanley with cutting gear

Group manager Grahame Mitchell

Claire Daniels with her three-year-old daughter Sophie, who had to have her potty removed from her head by the fire service Picture: OX59727 Marc West

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by

MORE than 250 people have had to be rescued from awkward and embarrassing situations by the county’s fire service over the past five years.

Eighty times Oxfordshire firefighters have had to remove rings, while there’s been another 17 occasions when people needed rescuing from bicycles and five more involving swings.

An unlucky 13 people have hollered for help over handcuffs, while seven people required assistance after getting into a predicament with a tree.

In total firefighters have come to the rescue of 261 people between 2008 and this year, figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show.

Each incident cost about £266 to attend, meaning the fire service spent £69,426 rescuing trapped people during that time.

Fire service group manager Grahame Mitchell said: “Rescuing people is increasingly part of our work now and people know to call us as a first point of call.

“The incidents are so varied, but that is why we train. We are very versatile with our equipment and we have never been unable to rescue someone.”

Some of the more unusual rescues have included a woman who was stuck in a phone box in Oxford in 2008, a 15-year-old girl from a swing in Didcot in 2008, a man from toilets “using a crowbar” in Witney in 2008 and a man “marooned” on a stair lift in Witney in 2009.

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An adult female was also released from a high chair in Oxford last January and a padlock was removed from someone’s ear in Oxford in 2010.

Claire and Charles Daniels, from Botley, had to call the fire service in June this year after their daughter Sophie, four, got her head stuck in a training toilet seat.

They had tried everything, including olive oil, to remove the seat but it simply would not budge.

Mrs Daniels, 36, said: “If someone is in a situation where they are trapped that is very distressing for that person.

“We did not know how to get her out ourselves, so we thought we would get the professionals to do it because they will know exactly what to do.

“Because it was around her head, we thought if we did it ourselves there was a serious risk of injuring her.

“We did not want to cut into her head or neck.

“We were panicking quite a bit as well. She was getting more upset and we were trying to get it off and it would not come off.”

Stuck children featured heavily in the list, including a two-year-old boy released from a toilet training seat in Oxford last February and a baby freed from a cot in Banbury in 2008.

Then there was a 19-month-old released from a trolley in Oxford last year, a two-year-old boy released from a sink plug hole in Bicester in 2011, and a boy released from a piece of Meccano in Banbury this May.

But some calls to the fire service to release trapped people have been more genuinely life-threatening.

On July 28, 2008, an adult was released from a tractor mower in Great Tew, on June 2, 2012, a woman was released from a food processor in Oxford and on May 7, 2011, a five-year-old boy was released after becoming impaled on a chain link fence in Radley.

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