Wisden Cricinfo staff
August 13, 2004
Cricket equipment worth around £60,000 has been destroyed after a rabbit, caught in a bonfire, ran out with its tail on fire and set light to a storage shed in Devizes in Wiltshire.
Two groundsmen had just lit a pile of leaves and branches when the rabbit shot out, tail ablaze, and bolted into a shed containing mowers, wheelbarrows and other pitch-care equipment belonging to the 150-year-old Devizes CC. John Bedbrook, their chairman, told Reuters: "After it had been going five minutes, the rabbit shot out of the bonfire on fire and went into the hut which is our equipment store."
The fire brigade was called, but two fire engines - and 11 firemen - could not save the shed or its contents. There was no sign of the rabbit, either, which is presumed to have gone up in flames too. The Devizes fire-station commander, Philip Flowers, said that in 22 years he had never fought a fire caused by a burning animal before. "We're 99% confident it was the rabbit that caused the fire," he said. "It was either burnt to a cinder or it escaped through a small hole in the corner of the shed - but I imagine it perished and went to bunny heaven."
The BBC website blamed a "Hot cross bunny" for the blaze.