Duke’s in hazard

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Ripon Cathedral Choir School was the scene of a rescue operation last week when firefighters rushed to the aid of a small dog thought to be trapped in an unlit bonfire.

Three-year-old terrier Duke got stuck in a pile of branches on the school’s fields after chasing a rabbit from Hell Wath onto the site at around 3pm on Thursday, November 3.

Duke’s owner, fearing the dog was stuck in a bonfire ready to be lit, raised the alarm and firefighters rushed to the scene.

But Duke was in no danger of being set alight, it has emerged, as he was only stuck in a pile of tree cuttings left by the school’s grounds staff.

The Choir School’s Headteacher Chris McDade said he feared the worst when a fire engine tore onto school fields.

“I was on the phone in my office when I saw a fire engine go straight across the front of the school with its lights on. My first reaction was to think ‘have I got a problem in my school’? Then my secretary came in with the same sense of alarm, because nobody at the school had called the fire brigade.”

“I went down onto the fields to see what I could do and heard a dog was stuck, before the fire engine left without further ado.

“The children – especially the younger ones – thought it was fantastic.”

A fire service spokesman said they used “a shovel and manpower” to free Duke before reuniting him, unharmed, with his owner.