Firefighters free US teen from Barney head

The incident left the fire department in stitches (Darby Risner)
The incident left the fire department in stitches (Darby Risner)

A US teen's been left red-faced, or maybe purple-faced, after being rescued from inside the head of a Barney the Dinosaur costume.

What started out as a Sunday night prank by 15-year-old Darby Risner of Trussville, Alabama, turned into a hilarious rescue mission for the teen and her friends, documented on SnapChat.

Darby told ABC News she'd found the head at a friend's house and wanted to scare them, so put it on and went downstairs. But the joke was on her after she realised she couldn't get it off again.

When she sat down the head "wobbled and scooched down" over her shoulders and down to her elbows, which left her with "short little Barney arms".

Then things got a little scary.

"All the girls started trying to pull it off, but it wasn't budging. I started getting a little claustrophobic and felt like it was kind of closing in."

They tried getting the head off themselves using Vaseline, and though there was some movement, the fibreglass head wasn't going anywhere.

They knew they had to make a call about what to do. That call was to a friend's boyfriend, a local firefighter.

Not wanting to "alarm the whole neighbourhood with sirens", the group piled into a car and drove to the fire station.

The sight was a first for Trussville Fire Department Lieutenant Vince Bruno.

Firefighters free US teen from Barney head

(Darby Risner)

"It was definitely amusing, but of course we had to take it seriously, too," he told ABC News.

They tried a bit of manpower before making a few cuts into the head which let it "slide right off".

The fire crew and the girls saw the funny side of the incident.

Firefighters free US teen from Barney head

(Darby Risner)

"[It's] definitely a story to look back on and tell for generations to come," Lt Bruno says.

But while Darby was going through her big escapade, her mum Audrey Shannon was unaware of it until the next day.

She was worried when she first heard about Darby's "little adventure", but "when I found out it was all about the Barney head, I laughed so hard. All the mascara ran off my face."