Tiny bird awakes man inside burning NE Ind. home

(WANE Photo)

AVILLA, Ind. (WANE) – An Avilla man is lucky to be alive after his home went up in flames. Firefighters say if it wasn’t for his pet, the outcome could have been much different.

Andrew Hardiek lost everything including his new home, clothes, and personal items. But he says he’s counting his blessings.

“Without Dylan waking me up, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” Hardiek said.

Charred walls, floors, and boarded up windows is all that’s left of Hardiek’s mobile home. Without Dylan, a 7-year-old cockatiel, things could have been far more devastating.

Hardiek said he was sleeping when Dylan started making noise to get his attention. Normally he said he opens Dylan’s cage once he gets home from working third shift, but on Monday he forgot to.

“Heard my bird squawking at me because he wanted out of his cage because I normally open it up when I come home.”

“The bird notified him before the smoke detectors notified him,” Chief of the Avilla Fire Department John A. Brazzel said, “I’ve heard of dogs and other animals waking people up from fires but never a bird.”

Investigators say heat tape around pipes underneath his mobile home caused the fire.

“It wasn’t even from when he owned it. It was from previous owners when at some point the pipes must have froze and they used the heat tape.”

Dylan was certainly the star of the day. And for that Hardiek said he plans to buy him something special.

“I’m going to try to find something maybe a bigger cage for once so maybe he can do a bit more when he’s in his cage. I’m going to try to find something to make him happy,” Hardiek said.

He did have insurance. In the meantime, the Red Cross is helping Hardiek and Dylan out.

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