Woman Braves Fire to Save Her Beloved Birds

Mashal Rizvi didn't have to think twice about rushing into a burning building to
save her pet birds.
To her, not rushing in would have been
"If your kids were in the house, would you do the same thing?,"
she said. "The birds are my everything. They're my family."
Rizvi, 23, who
is studying to be a veterinarian at Howard Community College, works as a
veterinary technician at VCA North Rockville Animal Hospital in Rockville.
On Oct. 16 at about 4 p.m., she returned to her North Laurel house in the
11000 block of Birchtree Lane, where she lives with her parents and other family
members. She was the only one home at the time.
Rizvi turned on the TV and
caught up on "Grey's Anatomy," then started watching a movie version of "A Tale
of Two Cities."
A few minutes into the movie, she heard a loud pop coming
from the sunroom, next to the family room where she was watching
"My parrots started screaming," she said.
Rizvi ran into the
sunroom and saw the air conditioning unit on fire. She grabbed the cordless
phone and called 911.
The fire started spreading quickly, so she picked up a
cage with two cockatiels in it and carried it outside to the deck behind the
Rizvi ran back into the sunroom and saw the fire had spread to the
carpet. She pulled two of her eclectus parrots from a large cage, which was too
cumbersome to haul outside, took the birds outside and set them on top of the
cockatiel cage.
Rescuing 'my baby'

She then remembered that she had one cockatiel left -- upstairs in her room.
"She's my baby," Rizvi recalled. "I ran back through the sunroom, through
the foyer and up the stairs. I had to act really fast, because that fire was
burning really, really fast."
Upstairs, she grabbed the bird and tucked it in
her pocket. Then she headed back downstairs.
When she got downstairs, Rizvi
faced a wall of smoke blocking her from going back out through the sunroom.
"There was a thick cloud of smoke," she said. "I had to duck and run out the
front door. There was no way I was going to be able to go out of the sunroom.
She made it to the front door and then tore around the back to the deck.
One parrot was still on the cage, but the other was missing. She called the
parrot's name and the parrot came running toward her.
"She screamed once. She
gave a little yell and started running towards me," she said.
Soon after, the
fire trucks arrived, she said.
"If I hadn't gone and got the birds they
would have died because that fire spread so fast," she said.
Not recommended

Anna Hoffmann, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue
Services, confirmed the unusual bird rescue at the Rizvi house.
But she said
it was not something the fire department recommends.
"While this had a
positive outcome, it doesn't always happen that way," Hoffmann said. Her
recommendation: "Notify a firefighter."
About 50 firefighters responded to
the fire at about 6 p.m. and had it out by 6:24 p.m., Hoffmann said. The fire
caused about $250,000 worth of damage, she added.
The house's kitchen,
family room and sunroom were destroyed by the fire, and there was extensive
smoke damage throughout the house, Rizvi said.
The family has moved out of
the house while it is being repaired.
Rizvi's father, Jaffer Rizvi, said he
knows that his daughter loves birds. Still, he has doubts about the wisdom of
her actions that day.
"I don't know if it's a smart thing to do," he
His daughter has no such doubts.
"I wouldn't be able to live with
myself if I hadn't," she said.


Mallow said...

I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't at least try and save my animals in a situation like that, I'm glad she was successful!

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