Genius Yorkshire firefighters use child’s fishing net and balloon to rescue pet hamster stuck down kitchen sink pipe

Ossett Blue Watch and Cleckheaton Technical Rescue got seriously creative when tasked with rescuing family pet Theo.

The hamster-retrieval device

A family, from Stanton Close, Ossett, had spent 24 hours trying to rescue Theo, after the hamster somehow managed to lodge itself two-metres down a plastic conduit pipe under the kitchen sink.

When Ossett Blue Watch arrived on the scene at around 2pm on Wednesday (June 9), they first attempted to get to the pipe by digging in the garden - but quickly found that the pipe was not accessible from outside the house.

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They then consulted the architects who built the house, and - alongside Cleckheaton Technical Rescue - formulated a plan to retrieve the wayward hamster.

The team initially tried to access the pipe externally.

Using drain rods, a small endoscopic camera borrowed from a neighbour, and a child’s fishing net, they were able to get a visual of Theo - who was stuck approximately two metres down the pipe.

They could also see the hamster could use the net to climb - but was unable to cling on long enough to be rescued.

After regrouping, the team came up with a very innovative idea to get Theo back on terra firma.

They fixed a balloon to a small plastic hose from the firefighters’ oxygen therapy mask, and then affixed the contraption to a rod. A camera, some hamster food, and netting were then added to the device.

The team were able to get a visual of the hamster

The rod was fed down the tube past the hamster, and the balloon inflated underneath the animal so that it could be lifted out.

However, Theo foiled the first couple of attempts at his rescue.

Damian Cameron, Technical Rescue Team Leader, said: “The hamster started to chew the balloon and popped it.

“This happened twice, so the third time we put the balloon inside two medical gloves to give it some protection.”

Theo the wayward hamster

“This time it worked, and we were able to slowly lift the rods out whilst a firefighter constantly kept blowing on the hose to keep the balloon inflated.”

Around two and a half hours after the request for assistance came in and after “lots of persistence,” Theo was back with his family.

Mr Cameron said: “It was a combined effort with loads of ideas coming forward and a never give up attitude from the crews, we were happy to help and the Technical Rescue Unit was available throughout if another more serious incident had occurred.”