It was a race against time as firefighters battled to free a man who was trapped in a lift – minutes before he was due to jet off on holiday.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) saved Jack Pogson, 20, from the lift at his apartment block in Mirfield after it became stuck at around 6.30am on Friday, January 3.
It was a frantic rush as fire crews battled to make sure Jack and his girlfriend Katie Ward made it to Manchester Airport – almost 50 miles away – for their 9.20am flight to Amsterdam to celebrate Katie’s 21st birthday.
Jack said: “We were rushing to do the last bit of preparation. I put the bins out and got into the lift and it got stuck.
“I got quite annoyed. I did not have my phone on me. I was stranded hoping that Katie would come out.
“I was thinking, ‘What are the chances of this?’ I was panicking a bit.”
After around 10 minutes, Katie came in search of Jack, discovered what had happened and attempts were made to call a lift engineer by ringing the emergency number in the lift car.
After getting no answer Katie decided to dial 999 in desperation.
Time was ticking as the couple were due to be picked up to leave for the airport at 6.45am.
One engine attended the scene and crews were able to free Jack by 7.20am.
He added: “I was really relieved and the crew was really helpful and we were laughing about it in the end.
“It was a bit nail biting. We did not know what the traffic would be like on the roads but we made it.
“I’m very grateful that they came out to us and got me out in time!”
Assistant chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “The fire and rescue service do not attend on every occasion that a lift car becomes stuck as we expect building owners to make suitable arrangements.
“However, on this occasion, recognising the urgency of the situation, we attended the incident, which thankfully led to a successful outcome.
“We hope that Katie and Jack have a happy holiday.”
The call was received when the Fire Brigades Union’s two-hour strike had just started. Cover was provided by Community Response Operatives and those not striking.