Little did Belle, a four year old Labrador Retriever know that as her day unfolded on Friday 6th May she would be visiting a factory based to save a man buried under thousands of tonnes of cheese. But this is exactly what happened.

After receiving a call from the national Fire and Rescue Service, Belle, who is an Urban Search and Rescue dog from Merseyside, and her handler responded to the call after driver Tomasz Wiszniewski became trapped under the toppled 10 metre-high metal shelving, which was storing boxed cheese at a factory in Hinstock, Market Drayton in Shropshire.

Photo Credit:

Alongside alongside another Search and Rescue dog from Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service named Maya, Belle visited the factory and expressed interest in the area of the haulage warehouse where Mr Wiszniewski was buried, indicating to the firefighters present who were then able to free him from the wreckage and help him emerge unharmed from his eight-hour ordeal.

Watch Manager Jo Stephens, pictured below, 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.

Photo Credit: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

“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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