Five firemen from a single Yorkshire town have injured their backs and muscles while trying to manoeuvre overweight people in the past two years, a report found. It resulted in a total of 13 working days being lost as the injured officers recovered.

Now crews in Rotherham, one of Britain’s fattest towns, are using forklift trucks and hydraulic platforms to rescue fat people from fires and falls and to help the ambulance service move bariatric patients to hospital.

A report commissioned by Rotherham council found overweight people at putting their lives at risk and diverting fire crews from attending more pressing 999 calls.

It noted: “South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue crews have had a number of fire-fighters injured while carrying out such rescues, usually muscular skeletal injuries, including back and muscle strains.

“As with any emergency situation, the risk for injury to staff is minimised but the rescue of people in these circumstances tends to be problematic due to the limited space in traditional houses, especially hallways and stairs. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have also provided hydraulic platforms to rescue people from bedroom windows and in exceptional circumstances a forklift truck has had to be used.”

Calling out the service’s technical rescue team to move an obese person costs £1,000 to £2,000 a time.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service has 83 emergency vehicles designed to carry patients who weigh more than 20 stone. It has a single ambulance able to carry a wheelchair-bound passenger of more than 40 stone.

NHS statistics recorded last year show that almost 6,000 people in Rotherham are known to have a body mass index of more than 40 and nearly 800 have a BMI above 50. A range of 20 to 25 is considered healthy.

Recently, emergency crews had to cut a hole in the wall of a Pennsylvania home to rescue a 270kg man who needed medical attention.

Paramedics and firefighters desperately tried to get into the house of the man but were unable to open the door because of all the clutter in the home. Emergency crews had to don hazmat suits and gas masks to enter the home out of fears the air was too toxic to inhale.

Neighbours feared the morbidly obese man had died, prompting them to call police. The police came and knocked one of the windows out, but they didn’t hear from him. Fire-fighters used electric chainsaws to cut through the brick wall of the home near Pittsburgh.

The unnamed man was then lifted with a pulley system onto a flatbed truck before being transported to hospital by ambulance.           –Telegraph