Smoky the fox cub’s miraculous escape from bungalow blaze that ‘went off like a bomb’

fox cub at St Tiggywinkles found in wreckage of a fire at Waddesdon. With Clare Campbell, Head Nurse

fox cub at St Tiggywinkles found in wreckage of a fire at Waddesdon. With Clare Campbell, Head Nurse

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A LUCKY fox cub miraculously survived a huge fire which ripped through a derelict bungalow.

The animal, which has been nicknamed Smoky, was pulled from the ashes by astonished firefighters and has made a full recovery at St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.

Scene of fire at cottage at Briar Hill Farm at Waddesdon

Scene of fire at cottage at Briar Hill Farm at Waddesdon

The blaze happened at Briar Hill Farm, off Bicester Road in Waddesdon.

The bungalow was being used for storage by farmer Gerry Warne, who said: “I don’t know how he survived – if you had seen how big the fire was you would have wondered yourself.”

Mr Warne has also praised firefighters for their quick response and for preventing the blaze from spreading to his nearby home.

“The winds got up and the fire was blowing towards the bungalow we live in so we got very concerned about that but the fire brigade were exceptionally quick and they did a splendid job.

“It was a terrific fire because the building was all old timber and creosote and it went like a bomb.

“The foxes had made burrows right underneath the building.

“When the firefighters moved some rubbish and timbers they found him – he was tiny, I would say only a couple of days old.”

Fire crews from Waddesdon and Aylesbury attended the blaze.

Firefighter and station manager Paul McShane said: “We do occasionally find animals but it is quite rare they survive, especially something that young.

“It was a bit singed but seemed in quite good health.

“To keep it warm one of the firefighters put it inside his jacket.”

Smoky has been cared for by staff at St Tiggywinkles in Haddenham.

Head nurse Clare Campbell said: “He smelled very smoky and his fur was very dense and thick so he had been close to the smoke.

“He was quite sad when he came in, that’s how I would describe it, very sad and very frightened. He was obviously concerned and angry.

“The nurses checked him out and he was given drugs that help clear the airwaves, some antibiotics and some fluids.

“He picked up very quickly, started eating and drinking and putting on weight.

“He’s now in with another fox and doing brilliantly.

“He will remain with other fox cubs and then get put into groups so he can remain as wild as possible. In the summer or early autumn he will be put out into the wild.”

Perhaps surprisingly for a farmer, Mr Warne said he does not mind foxes, who have rarely troubled his animals.