A pet parrot died a hero by saving his teenage owner when fire ripped through a family home. Cookie the cockatiel started squawking and flapping his wings to alert Ben Rees, 17, that a blaze broke out in his bedroom in Llanelli, South Wales. Ben battled through thick smoke to escape and call the fire brigade who arrived in time to stop the house from burning down.
But tragically Cookie could not be saved - and perished in the blaze. Ben's mum Vicky, 48, said: "He was Ben's guardian angel - he's a hero and he died a hero. Cookie sensed danger and seemed to know that Ben hadn't realised his bedroom was on fire. If he hadn't squawked and flapped like that I'm sure Ben would have died in there, too."
The fire broke out when Ben was home alone and lit an incense stick in his bedroom then went into the shower. Embers from the stick set fire to his bed and within minutes the bedroom was engulfed in flames. Cookie, whose perch is in Ben's bedroom, was alarmed by the smoke and started flapping wildly making a lot of noise. Then he flew into the bathroom and repeatedly "dive-bombed" Ben who realised something was seriously wrong.
Vicky said: "Thank goodness Cookie went to look for Ben - a few moments longer and he would have been trapped in the bathroom. It is so sad that he didn't make it out alive - we will never forget what he did." Ben had a go at dousing the flames before running out of the house. Firefighters gave Ben oxygen at the scene and he was treated for shock by paramedics. Brave Cookie was given a hero's send-off today as the grateful family buried him in the garden of their home. Ben said: "I'm heartbroken at losing my pet - he saved my life."