Tiger, the Siamese cat, saved his owner from burning to death in a savage wildfire that wreaked havoc, destruction and loss of life in the areas surrounding Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in November of 2016. Mark Burger believes that if not for the actions of his beloved cat, he might not be around to weave this tale of animal loyalty and heroism.
Tiger's Odd Behavior Made Mark Investigate
The normally calm and placid Tiger was trying desperately to get his owner's attention that fateful morning in November of 2016. While staring out the window, he rushed back and forth between the door and his owner, 60 year-old Mark Burger. He told the press: I figured I might as well take out the trash and take a look to see if an animal, like a racoon, might be making Tiger nervous. When I got across the lot, I could see flames all over. Burger firmly believes that if it weren't for Tiger, he might not have survived the fire. (See: Hero Dog Saved Owner From Fire.)
Many Residents Did Not Receive Evacuation Alerts
Officials acknowledged that evacuation alerts sent to the mobile devices of many vulnerable residents never reached them. Mark Burger, who owns and operates a gift shop, never received any notification of impending danger on his mobile phone. Tiger picked up the ball and made sure his human knew something was very wrong. Once Burger saw the flames, he quickly ran inside, packed a small bag and his heart medication, got his cat and evacuated. He told the News Sentinel: "It took four hours for us to get off the mountain and into Gatlinburg." (See: Freckles The Canine Smoke Detector.)
Why Weren't Many Residents Notified Of Impending Disaster?
State and local officials still do not know why evacuation notices did not reach many residents until after the fire swept through the town. John Mathews, director of the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, told the News Sentinel that the evacuation alert was sent to mobile devices, but acknowledged that those alerts did not reach many vulnerable residents. He said:" If people did not receive the message we sent out, of course we are unsatisfied with that." (See: Speedy the Hero Goat Saves Family From Fire.)
At least 14 people died and 134 were injured in the fast-moving wildfires that ripped through Gatlinburg, a town of some 4,000 people and the surrounding area that is belted on three sides by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park officials confirmed that the unusual force of the human-caused fire was fueled by very strong winds that destroyed about 1,600 structures. (See: Pet Squirrel Foils Home Invasion.)
In the end, Mark Burger is one of the lucky ones. His condo, store and hero cat all survived the inferno unscathed. Although some researchers remain skeptical about Tiger's heroism, arguing that animals are more reactive to signals they associate with danger than humans, Tiger knows better and so does Mark Burger, who continues to adore his precious and loyal four-legged buddy. (See: Cat Takes Bullet Meant For Three-Year Old.)
We all know the truth.
You are one cool cat!
Source: The Washington Post