FOR some people in Warrnambool “doing the gap’’ has become something of a rite of passage, but for one woman it became an embarrassing nightmare in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Doing the gap involves squeezing through the narrow space between two Timor Street buildings — the bowling alley and the ice creamery.
The gap narrows to about 30 centimetres near the rear of the buildings where people jump down into a private off-street carpark.
It proved too much of a squeeze for a 40-year-old woman, who tripped and had to be prised out by emergency services about 3am on Sunday.
Police have warned locals to stop doing the stunt, although they acknowledge that it is a Warrnambool “thing’’.
"With the hose under her armpit, we were on the roof and hauled her so she could stand upright and she was then able to shuffle on by herself through to the end where she was headed."
Acting Sergeant Dave McPhail said fire brigade officers used a hose to lift the woman and free her.
“She was fine, but heavily embarrassed,” he said.
‘‘There was a man in there with her the whole time, about 45 minutes, and he kept her calm.
“After the fire brigade got there it took 15 minutes to free her.
“No one should be attempting to go between the buildings. If people do get stuck they could have a panic attack — it could be life-threatening.”
The officer said the woman had enjoyed a night out with a friend and unwisely has decided to do the “challenge’’.
“She got about 10 metres in from the street and became wedged.
“Police were called and were unable to free her. Ambulance, State Emergency Service volunteers and the fire brigade were then also called in,” Acting Sergeant McPhail said.
He said the two brick walls would also lead to a trapped person’s core temperature dropping, especially at night and if the person was affected by alcohol.
CFA senior station officer Greg Hill said the woman had tripped over between the two walls and could not stand up.
“She was wedged down the bottom,” he said. “We put a 38mm hose underneath her for support so she could stand upright, because she had nothing to lean on.
“With the hose under her armpit, we were on the roof and hauled her so she could stand upright and she was then able to shuffle on by herself through to the end where she was headed.”
A Warrnambool City Council spokesman said there were no building regulations requiring the gap between the buildings to be closed.