- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

AVILLA, Ind. (AP) - A northeastern Indiana man says he’s alive because his tiny pet bird woke him up in time to escape from his burning mobile home.

Andy Hardiek said he was sleeping Monday afternoon after working the third shift at a factory in Ligonier when his cockatiel, named Dylan, started squawking.

Hardiek, 36, got up to check on the bird and opened up his cage. About five minutes later, he noticed smoke and fire coming from near his bedroom, Hardiek told The News Sun (https://bit.ly/1aGl84w ).

“I tried to put out the flames with my fire extinguisher,” Hardiek said, adding that it didn’t work and he soon fled with nothing but Dylan and the bird’s cage.

Avilla Fire Chief John Brazzell said he was still a block away when he saw smoke coming from the trailer in the town about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne.

Brazzell blamed the fire on old heating tape around pipes underneath the trailer and said it was likely a total loss.

Hardiek, who moved into the trailer in December, said he lost nearly all his belongings in the fire, but that his bird made all the difference.

“He started squawking,” Hardiek said. “I kind of owe him my life. I would have been sleeping still.”

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Information from: The News-Sun, https://www.kpcnews.com

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