A trip to the local laundromat turned into a harrowing ordeal for a youngster who found himself stuck in a washing machine.

Firefighters in Whanganui were called to the Liquid Self Service Laundromat, on Alma Rd, just before 7pm.

A Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said a boy aged about 6 or 7 years old climbed into one of the machines and immediately got stuck.

"He closed a door and it didn't open again.''

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The machine was not on at the time.

Firefighters were forced to break the door open to get him out safely. An ambulance was also called, but the youngster was uninjured.

It is thought the child was in the machine less than 10 minutes, the spokeswoman said.

"It's one of those stories that'll come up at his 21st,'' she joked.

A worker at the establishment said there had earlier been three children in one of the machines.

He was glad the child was okay, but was now dealing with another problem.

"The machine - now the door's broken.''