WITH HER angelic smile and curly blonde locks, 16-month-old Minnie Snodgrass looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.
But it took a dramatic rescue and four firefighters armed with bolt cutters to rescue her when she got trapped in her mother’s mop bucket this week.
The toddler got wedged in the metal bucket after her mother, Gemma, had been mopping the floor at their home in Conisbrough, near Doncaster on Tuesday morning.
Mrs Snodgrass had briefly popped upstairs when she heard Minnie’s brother Matthew, four, shout.
“She must have climbed in and sat down and got wedged,” she said. “I went upstairs to put some sheets on the bed and then I heard her brother Matthew shout ‘Mum, Minnie’s stuck’.
“I picked up the bucket and was panicking when I couldn’t get her out.”
Minnie’s grandmother Rose Cope drove them to nearby Mexborough Montagu Hospital.
Despite the seriousness of her predicament, the happy youngster was unaffected.
Mrs Snodgrass filmed part of the incident on her mobile phone and the footage, which can be viewed on our website, shows the little girl dancing along to the car radio as she is taken the short distance to hospital.
“Minnie barely let out a whimper the whole time, she actually seemed to enjoy being stuck and was dancing around in the back of the car,” she said.
When they first arrived at the A&E Department, the family was told there was nothing staff could do to help. But after a nurse took pity, they were taken out of the gazing eyes of onlookers to await firefighters.
Mrs Snodgrass said: “It was so embarrassing walking in, I said to my mum that she would have to carry her in, which she did.
“When we got to the counter my mum plonked the bucket on the desk and said ‘she’s stuck’.
“At first the receptionist said they couldn’t help us and that we should call the fire brigade, but eventually one of the nurses called out and said it wasn’t fair to have people laughing at us, so brought us to a back room and called the fire brigade.”
Four firefighters from Dearne Fire Station used bolt cutters to free Minnie, and ensured she was unharmed by lining their fingers around the bucket so Minnie would not get cut.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue respond to hundreds of ‘special service’ incidents each year, many of which require specialised skills, equipment and training to deal with.
These include freeing people from car crashes, water rescues, lift releases, animal rescues - and now bucket rescues.
A fire service spokesperson said: “If we weren’t here to rescue toddlers from mop buckets, who would? It’s another example of the vast range of work the modern fire and rescue service is called to respond to and which the public rely on us for.”
Mrs Snodgrass praised the work of the firefighters.
“When they first arrived they said ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before’,” she said. “But they were trying to keep Minnie calm, telling her to keep still and that everything would be all right. My mum was talking to Minnie as well as she started to get a bit upset because she didn’t know who the fire crew were.
“I’ll definitely have to keep a closer eye on her in the future as getting stuck definitely hasn’t stopped her wanting to explore and climb things.
“She’s fine now. I’m not allowed a mop bucket again. I’ll just use a steam mop.”
Rescuing Minnie from the bucket fell under one of the 1,400 ‘special service’ incidents South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue attend each year.
In recent months, firefighters have rescued a horse from a river in Barnsley, a bull from a ditch in Doncaster, and even a man on a mobility scooter stranded in a muddy field near Edlington.
They were also called out to deal with unexploded munitions in Penistone, rescued a teenager stuck in mud in Riveline, Sheffield, and attended a care home in Wincobank when its roof was blown off.
And over the last year, it has attended 27 incidents where young children have become locked in cars.
Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “It’s easy to forget the vast range of incidents our firefighters get called to deal with.”