Alabama Girl, 15, Gets Stuck in Giant Barney Head, Rescued by Firefighters

barney-head-main-2dc923f9-aa57-4ea6-b437-d98f9676b2b9 Courtesy of Darby Risner

Traumatizing, but hilarious! A 15-year-old girl from Alabama got trapped in a giant Barney head and couldn’t get out until she was rescued by firefighters 45 minutes later.

According to, Darby Risner was joking around with a group of friends at her church on Sunday, June 19, when she spotted the costume head laying nearby. Her pastor purchased the purple dinosaur costume several years ago, but had lost the bodysuit.

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“Darby thought, I’m going to scare them when they come downstairs,” her mother, Audrey Shannon, told the local news outlet. “She put the Barney head on and when she sat down on the sofa to wait for them, it dropped. It slipped over her shoulders. When they finally came down, she got up and realized it had dropped so low, she couldn’t get it off. It was digging into her.” Courtesy of Darby Risner

After spreading Vaseline on her arms in an attempt to remove the oversize Barney head, Risner’s friends were out of ideas.

“The head was closing in on me. It was like a ‘stuck in a small place and can’t get out’ panicking,” the girl told, adding, “I kind of gasped in fear like, ‘Oh, no, what did I do?’”

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Shannon, however, couldn’t help but laugh, as frightened as her daughter was. “It gave her short little Barney arms since it was nearly at her elbows. It was hilarious. She couldn’t see, so [her friends] had to guide her.”

Once Risner started panicking more and began feeling nauseous, her family called the local fire department, but insisted that they needn’t show up with loud emergency sirens. The emergency crew stated that the sirens are standard protocol, so Risner’s family took matters into their own hands and drove the girl to the fire station.

“When they walked in, you couldn’t help but start laughing,” Trussville fire lieutenant Vince Bruno told the website. “We tried to be professional, and she was a little distraught, but we had to giggle about it.” Courtesy of Darby Risner

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Fire officials tried lifting the head off, but Risner’s mom noted that “she’s so little that when they lifted the head, it lifted her off the ground.” Shannon added, “And with the Vaseline on her arms, they said it was like trying to wrestle a greased pig.”

Nearly an hour later, firefighters were able to remove the Barney head and laugh about the once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

“That’s a first for me and it will probably be the last, but at least I know how to handle it if it happens again,” Lieutenant Bruno said. “It’s something we’ll talk about for years to come.”

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