Hero Search and Rescue dog Belle helps find man buried under tonnes of cheese

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A four-year-old Urban Search and Rescue dog from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service helped find a warehouse worker who was buried under thousands of tonnes of cheese after racks of shelving collapsed on his forklift truck.

Belle, a black Labrador Retriever, was sent to Hinstock in Market Drayton, Shropshire on Friday (May 6) as part of a national Fire and Rescue Service response after driver Tomasz Wiszniewski became trapped under the toppled 10 metre-high metal shelving, which was storing boxed cheese.

Working alongside another Search and Rescue dog from Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, called Maya, Belle showed interest in the area of the haulage warehouse where Mr Wiszniewski was buried.

Firefighters from Shropshire Fire & Rescue, together with search teams from West Midlands Fire Service, were then able to free him from the wreckage and help him emerge unharmed from an eight-hour ordeal.

Watch Manager Jo Stephens, who also heads up the Search Dog Team at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Belle did a fantastic job and performed exactly as she has been trained to.

“She has been an Urban Search and Rescue dog with the Service since she was 18-months’-old and has worked in many major incidents across the country. She is also part of the International Search and Rescue Team that deploys all over the world.

“Belle is trained to sniff out live scent and to give a bark alert so that operational crews can then come to the spot she has identified and use listening devices and cameras to establish the exact location of casualties.

“It gives the crews somewhere to start and helps pinpoint areas where there might be casualties. This was an extraordinary outcome because the man involved emerged alive and unscathed.

“The whole atmosphere in the warehouse was so buoyant when they brought the worker to safety. Belle did a fantastic job and we are very proud of her contribution to the rescue effort.

“She was rewarded with her beloved tennis ball, which is her motivation for all her search and rescue work!”

Belle is part of a team of four Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service dogs, alongside Teal, Zak and Jip, who assist in search and rescue operations and fire investigations.


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