Parrot dies a hero's death as he saves family in blaze
A PET parrot has been hailed a guardian angel after giving its own life to save a Llanelli teenager from a bedroom blaze.
Cookie the cockatiel died a hero's death — defending his family's home from destruction.
It alerted Ben Rees to the grave danger after the college student's mattress burst into flames while he was taking a shower.
But the brave bird later succumbed to smoke inhalation.
Ben's mum Vicki said the family's feathered friend would never be forgotten.
She said: "If he didn't do what he did, Ben would have been dead. It would have been raging by the time he had come out of the shower.
"He was Ben's guardian angel — he's a hero and he died a hero."
The drama happened at around 1pm last Wednesday at a house on Als Street.
Ben had lit an incense stick before heading for his shower — and somehow his bed clothes were set alight.
Cookie — who had white "angel wing" marks on his wings — was alarmed by the smoke and flapped around the house causing a racket and alerting his owner that something was up.
The concerned cockatiel then repeatedly "dive-bombed" Ben when he left the shower, prompting him to investigate the commotion.
The 19-year-old, who studies bricklaying and plastering, had previously trained in fire safety and was swift to deal with the flames roaring from his bed.
Mrs Rees said: "He patted it all with a quilt, chucked the quilt out the window, came down the stairs, grabbed a few saucepans of water and poured them on the quilt.
"If he had left it, it would have gone right through the house."
Mrs Rees was out walking the family's dog, Buddy, at the time of the blaze.
She said: "He didn't want to be in town at all. It was as if he was trying to tell us — you can read Buddy like that."
When the 48-year-old returned home she found her son on the street.
She said: "He was standing at the door looking like he was going out for Halloween.
"He was in shock, he had a fright."
With the mattress still smouldering, the family phoned the fire service.
They gave Ben oxygen at the scene, treating him for shock and smoke inhalation.
Firefighters ensured the fire was fully extinguished and ventilated the house.
With the scorched mattress lying in front of the family home — a reminder of how bad things could have been — Mrs Rees paid tribute to her son's quick thinking. She said: "If he hadn't been so sensible, we would all be sleeping on the mattress outside."
She also praised the fire service's prompt response hailed the crew absolutely brilliant.
But when the family re-entered their home, they found Cookie dead in the kitchen.
Gutted about his death, they said they would bury Cookie in the back garden amid the gladioli.
"When he is in there, the colours of him will come through in the flowers," said Mrs Rees.