Parrot alerts Fla. couple to house fire

Posted Jan. 15, 2014, at 7:10 a.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — At times, said Dave Wulff, his fiancee’s pet Pearly is nothing but annoying, especially when the parrot screeches while Dave is playing guitar.

But before dawn Tuesday, the Indian ringneck parrot served as a feathered smoke alarm, awakening Wulff and Laurajean Niesel from a sound sleep and saving them from a growing fire at their home on Southwest 18th Avenue.

“What we heard was a screeching like we’ve never heard before,” said Niesel, 60, a nurse. “We thought maybe he got his foot caught in his trapeze.”

Rather, from his covered cage on the other side of the wall from the carport laundry room, the 3-year-old male bird was screaming that the house was on fire. Niesel said she dialed 911 about 3:45 a.m., and Fort Lauderdale firefighters were there in minutes.

The blaze was contained to the laundry room, said division chief Robert Bacic. The cause remains under investigation.

Silent through all the commotion were three battery-powered smoke detectors inside the house.

“I figure he saved us five to 10 minutes in getting the fire department here,” Niesel said. “The fire could have easily spread to the roof.”

Pearly’s reward for his heroism? “An apple, his favorite,” Niesel said.

“He can stay,” Wulff said. “I was ready to give him flying lessons.”

 

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