One pet parakeet’s knack for the English language managed to save the lives of a Tennessee family.
Barbara Klein of Lebanon, Tenn., told news agency Southwest News Service that, as a fire began to engulf her family’s home early one morning, their parrot Louie’s warning helped them narrowly escape the flames.
According to the woman, she and her husband Larry, as well as their 6-year-old granddaughter, were woken up by the bird‘s repeated, noisy cries of “fire” — a vocabulary word they didn’t know he had learned, making the warning even more surprising since pet parakeets often only mimic words they hear repeatedly in their surroundings, according to Slate.
“Louie is a true hero,” Klein told SWNS. “If it weren’t for him I probably would have been sleeping during the fire. He started squawking ‘fire.’ He had never said that word before in my recollection.”
When they woke up, the family was shocked to find the flames spreading through the rooms of the house. According to Klein, her husband ended up in the hospital with serious injuries, after trying to recover items from within the burning home.
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“He ran to the kitchen and was trying to put the fire out with water,” she said. “After we left, he ran back into the house to try to save our puppies and his grandfather’s guitar. He kept saying he couldn’t breathe and I was shouting at him to leave the house.”
She added: “I told him to get down and he crawled out. I pulled him out of the fire. Then we got in the car and drove out of the driveway.”
Klein said it was a “miracle” that Larry survived, as the man suffered burns on his hands and face. He was later let out of the hospital in time for his granddaughter’s birthday, according to the outlet.
Though the family was able to escape the fire, Louie did not. The parrot, along with the family’s other pet dogs, perished in the blaze — but a generous Good Samaritan, who is providing a place to stay for the Kleins as they look for a new home, gifted a new baby parrot to the family.
“We call him Louie Jr.,” said Klein.