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Pet Parrot Saves Owner From House Fire

FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – You might not think the sound of a squawking parrot is the sound of a savior, but for one family in Fort Lauderdale; that's exactly what it was.

"I feel very lucky," said Laurajean Niesel. "Pearly saved us."

Laurjean and her fiance were sleeping at their home on SW 14th STreet and 18th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale early Monday morning when, Pearly, an Indian ring neck parrot woke them up in a panic.

"It was really in distress," said Dave. "It was panicking. You could tell something was wrong."

"I heard the bird squawking and flapping its wings and woke up to see what was wrong," Laurajean told CBS4's Gaby Fleischman.

When both got out of bed to check on Pearly, they noticed smoke coming into the house.

"I saw the smoke coming from the laundry room," Laurajean said.

Pearly went off before the smoke alarm which gave Laurajean and her fiance plenty of time to get out and get help.

"I didn't even think anything, get out, get out, and Dave said, 'call 911,' and I called 911 and got out the back and went across the street," Laurjean said.

Arriving firefighters found flames and heavy smoke coming from the building, but they were able to contain the fire to a laundry room.

"It was really fortunate to have him (Pearly) there last night," Dave said.

Ironically, Pearly didn't have many fans in the house before the fire. Laurajean said his squawking was an annoyance for her family. Instead of an annoyance, it turned into a lifesaver.

"My children never liked the bird and Dave never liked the bird either," Laurajean said. "So now, maybe the bird will be in a better light to my family."

"I'll be a little more tolerant of it now I guess," Dave lamented. "Maybe he'll get an extra piece of cheese or something."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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