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Who's a lucky boy then?

PUBLISHED: 14:06 24 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:08 03 July 2010

LUCKY parrot Junior was living on a wing and a prayer when fire took hold of the basement of a house in Great Yarmouth in the early hours last Saturday.

LUCKY parrot Junior was living on a wing and a prayer when fire took hold of the basement of a house in Great Yarmouth in the early hours last Saturday.

Fortunately, the African Grey found his guardian angel in Pedro Alho, 26, who forced his way through choking smoke to rescue the helpless one-year-old from the first floor of the townhouse in Paget Road minutes before the pet would have been suffocated by the smoke.

Next door neighbour Mr Alho was watching television in his flat when he heard the smoke alarms sounding at 1.30am and went outside to be greeted by the sight of smoke rising from the basement flat, which was unoccupied as the owners were away on holiday.

The Portuguese national and another tenant from his block of flats went in and evacuated two residents from the burning building, but did not initially realise stricken Junior was sitting in his cage in the lounge on the first floor until one of the residents told them.

So the duo covered their mouths with their T-shirts and burrowed through thick smoke to get to the first floor using the light from a mobile phone for guidance.

Mr Alho said: “The smoke was quite strong. Everything was burning, it was intoxicating. I could not get through the fire because my eyes were streaming and I think the parrot was four or five minutes from death.”

The parrot sustained injuries to its wing and nose after hitting its cage in fright.

“It was really scared and distressed so we brought it out and brought it to the front door,” Mr Alho said.

Firefighters from Yarmouth, Gorleston, Acle and Stalham extinguished the blaze before it spread to the rest of the house.

The fire crews evacuated four more people from neighbouring properties, although Yarmouth Borough Council has shut down the burnt building after deeming it unsafe to live in.

The residents have had to find alternative accommodation and it is understood the occupants of the ground floor flat, who owned the parrot, are staying with friends.

Mr Alho said he would be looking after the parrot indefinitely until its owners were able to take it back, although he hoped to be able to keep Junior permanently.

A fire service spokesman said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

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