South West Wales

Pet parrot saves owner Ben Rees in Llanelli house fire

Cookie
Image caption Cookie the cockatiel has been hailed an "angel" by his owners

A pet parrot died a "hero" by saving his teenage owner when fire ripped through his bedroom.

Cookie the cockatiel squawked, flapped his wings and repeatedly "dive-bombed" Ben Rees, 17, to alert him to the blaze at his home in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.

Ben escaped through thick smoke and called the fire brigade but Cookie could not be saved.

Firefighters have said the blaze was started by an incense stick.

Ben said: "I'm heartbroken at losing my pet - he saved my life."

Image caption Ben lit an incense stick before going for a shower

Vicky Rees, 48, the teenager's mother, 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.

Mrs Rees 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, who is studying bricklaying and plastering, was given oxygen at the scene and treated for shock by paramedics after the incident last week.

Cookie has been buried in the family garden.