Thursday 29 September 2016

Bunny tiler holding out for a hero in rooftop rabbit drama

Published 29/01/2016 | 14:01

The rabbit was rescued by firefighters after Storm Gertrude blew the pet up on to a roof (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service/PA)
The rabbit was rescued by firefighters after Storm Gertrude blew the pet up on to a roof (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service/PA)
The rabbit was rescued by firefighters after Storm Gertrude blew the pet up on to a roof (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

A flying pet rabbit is to be renamed Gertrude after the storm that blew it up onto a roof in Northern Ireland.

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Firefighters rescued the bunny, formerly known as Bumper, after it was unexpectedly deposited on top of the Omagh residential home where it lives.

It appears the pet's "hare-raising" experience was due to not battening down the hutches outside the Deverney Road property.

A gale force gust swept the animal's wooden home into the air on Friday morning and sent it crashing toward the building.

District Commander of Omagh Fire Station David Doherty said the rabbit had a lucky escape.

"The wind caught the hutch and sent it flying into the air and it has catapulted the rabbit out of the hutch and onto the roof," he said.

"Now the hutch has come down and smashed, so it was probably lucky for the rabbit that it did come out."

Mr Doherty explained why firefighters chose to respond to the unusual request for help.

"It's not the sort of thing we would usually go to, but because of the conditions, it was so windy, we were scared if we didn't go out and deal with this, a member of the public would try to go up and end up getting injured or worse," he said.

"The guys went up on the ladders and used a really long reach pole we use for rescuing casualties out of water and we used that to basically coax it down off the roof. It came to the top of the ladder and the guys were able to carry it down."

He said the residents of the home were now going to re-name their pet.

"They are going to re-name it Gertrude now after the storm, because of the adventure it's had," he said.

Mr Doherty said the escapade had caused a storm of public interest since he posted it on Twitter on Friday morning, and he hoped to use that to highlight the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service's adverse weather safety messages.

"We want to get the message out to tell people to be safe in power cuts, to make sure their smoke alarms are working, be safe using candles and be careful on the roads," he said.

"We'd much rather be getting a good news story rescuing a rabbit off a roof than having to go out to rescue someone from their home or their car or worse."

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