ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — More than 150 days after she rushed into an Abilene apartment fire to save her 4-year-old son, Ashley Hardy is still fighting for her life inside a burn unit at a Lubbock hospital.
Despite Ashley’s heroic efforts, 4-year-old Liam lost his life when the Hardy family’s unit at the Warwick Apartment complex caught fire on July 12, 2017. Ashley was able to get Liam’s brother, 9-year-old Aiden, to safety, but in the process, she was overcome by flames and was burned on over 80 percent of her body.
Two bystanders, John Farrell and Michael Garcia, are credited with saving Ashley’s life after rushing inside to pull her from the fire.
Ashley’s father Larry Reed has been by her side all 5 months she’s been in Lubbock, living in a used RV, and going home only one day at a time for necessities.
Reed told KTAB and KRBC Aiden and his father are currently living at their home while Aiden goes to school and attends counseling sessions. They travel to visit Ashley every weekend, though sometimes she can’t even remember their names.
Reed says hospital staff have revived Ashley several times since she was admitted on July 12, the most recent being on the operating table in September just days after she had finally begun to show signs of improvement.
Before she coded in the operating room, Reed says he had explained what happened to Ashley and she was beginning to process the fire and Liam’s death, but she suffered such extensive brain damage in September, she no longer remembers what happened or why she’s even in the hospital.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” Reed told KTAB. “She’ll ask us questions, we’ll answer, and then she tells us she doesn’t want to know anymore, so we don’t go any further. My belief right now [is that] she still doesn’t know about Liam or the fire.”
Reed says Ashley won’t be able to return home for years, with multiple rehab hospitals on the horizon as she begins to improve. He’s asking the community for nothing but prayers and counseling for his family as Ashley and Aiden continue to heal.
He wants to stress that a tragedy like this, for anyone, isn’t over in a week. It’s “a life-changing event and it takes a while to recover.”
The exact cause of the Warwick Apartment Fire has not been determined, though investigators believe it was accidental in nature.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the Hardy family can visit the First Abilene Federal Credit Union — just mention Ashley Hardy or Ashley Reed. Donations are also being accepted at the Pleasant Grove Church in Anson.