A CAT owner has praised firefighters who spent hours freeing his frightened kitten who had become trapped.
Firefighters had to smash through a brick wall to rescue six-month-old Ziggy who got stuck in a three-inch gap in Albany, Washington.
At the height of the rescue, up to 10 firefighters, including a crew from Washington and one from Hebburn, where at the scene in the tiny cul-de-sac of Whinway.
Owner Michael Davey, 62, was alerted by his next-door neighbour who had seen Ziggy bolt through his gate at about 8.30pm on Tuesday, after being frightened by a small terrier.
The playful moggy, then became trapped between Mr Davey’s garage wall and next door’s extension.
Mr Davey, who is married to Maureen, 60, said: “The next-door neighbour came in and said he had been outside taking his rubbish out and our cat came in through his gate and rushed past him, like a bat out of hell because a little terrier was after him.
“The terrier scarpered, but Ziggy has gone in between our garage wall and his extension wall. He tried to make it out but ended up on his back and couldn’t move.
“This large fire engine arrived and I thought ‘blimey’. They tried a few things, but they didn’t have their net so they called for backup. There were 10 firemen here at one point. But they couldn’t get the net around Ziggy, so they knocked through the wall.”
The crews used a Stihl saw, disc cutter and masonry drill to remove several bricks from the garage wall.
“The cat was five foot in and we couldn’t reach it,” Washington fire station crew manager Warren Mulvaney said. “It was well trapped.
“We cut a whole in the wall and rescued the cat through the garage and handed it over to its owner.”
Ziggy is the only cat belonging to the retired pair, who have daughters Claire, 33, who lives at home, and Sarah, 37, as well as four grandchildren.
The family now want to thank the rescuers who came to Ziggy’s aid. “The fire service did a stirling job,” Mr Davey said. “They were excellent.”
Ziggy is now recovering at home after being checked over by a vet. He escaped his ordeal largely unharmed with just a scraped paw.