Operation overkill: 25 firemen and five engines sent to rescue one cat stranded on roof

It's a service traditionally offered by our compassionate fire services. But the response of the Suffolk brigade to a cat trapped on a roof went well beyond the call of duty.

Health and safety rules meant 25 firefighters were sent to rescue the cat at an estimated cost of £1,500.

The cat was perched about 40ft up on a two-storey house in Leiston, Suffolk, yesterday when five crews were dispatched to save it.

The crews – two of which came from 30 miles away - scrambled to comply with national ‘working at height’ regulations to ensure the health and safety of firefighters, but union leaders have branded the response ‘crazy and overkill’.

Firefighters with specialist training in working at heights ‘each likely to be four or five strong’ were also mobilised from Felixstowe, 30 miles away, and Bungay, 20 miles away.

Ironically the crews were turned back within minutes when a local firefighter from Leiston climbed a ladder and rescued the cat - which ran off unscathed.

Under the guidelines firefighters are allowed to work temporarily from the top of a ladder.

The response would have cost taxpayers thousands of pounds.

A spokesman for campaign group The Taxpayers’ Alliance said: ‘It’s ridiculous that five fire crews were sent out to rescue one cat.

A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said it had been called by the RSPCA to help and the reaction was in line with national regulations.

Source: Daily Mail – 6th April 2011

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