Pet chicken alerts family about house fire

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ALMA CENTER, Wis. (WEAU) -- They say heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and now species.

When Brad Krueger raised this chicken on his farm, he never knew it would one day grow up and save his neighbors.

"I've heard animals waking people up but not a chicken," he said.

It all started Thursday morning when the fire department says a huge fire broke out at a home in Alma Center.

The smoke detectors were not working, the people inside were asleep. That is, until the chicken sensed something was wrong.

"She said she heard the commotion of the chicken and all that stuff," Krueger added.

The people inside the home also told Krueger the cat started making noise. They smelled fire, opened the garage door, and it was full of smoke.

"We were halfway into town and you could look into town and all you could see was an orange glow," said Jeff Gaede, the Fire Chief in Alma Center.

He says the home and everything inside is a total loss. Because the house sits up on a hill beyond a private driveway, we were are not able to show you video of what is left.

But even Gaede is surprised how the family got out.

"I guess at first I was really amazed, we've never run into a chicken before," he said.

"You always run into a dog or cat or something."

How the chicken got to living there is an amazing story, too. Krueger says dogs always chased it around his farm, cornering it under the machinery.

"They kept it up and finally the chicken wandered over and finally they adopted it," he said.

The family took it in as their own, protecting and looking out for it. And this morning, the chicken returned the favor.


ALMA CENTER, Wis. (WEAU) – Firefighters say a pet chicken gave a sleeping couple warning so they could escape from their burning log home Thursday morning.

It happened around 6:15 a.m. on East Moore Road near Alma Center. Crews found the two-story home fully engulfed when they got there. It was destroyed in the fire. Nobody was hurt.

Alma Center Fire Chief Jeff Gaede says the smoke detectors in the home did not go off, but the couple’s pet chicken woke them up. Both of them escaped. The chicken and a cat also escaped, but Gaede says another cat died in the fire.

He says the fire started in an attic area above the home’s attached garage. Investigators have not determined what caused the fire.

Six departments provided mutual aid. Crews spent nearly five hours putting out the fire. The Red Cross also responded to help the victims.