Christmas Miracle: Mother burned trying to save son from fire returns home to Abilene hospital

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Just in time for Christmas, Ashley Hardy is returning home to an Abilene hospital after spending over 160 days in a Lubbock burn unit following a fire that killed her 4-year-old son. 

Ashley's mother and husband were there to greet her as she arrived at Hendrick Medical Center Wednesday morning with her father - a bittersweet moment they believed may never come. 

Ashley was burned on more than 80% of her body after rushing into the fire at the Hardy family's unit at the Warwick Apartment complex on July 12, 2017. She was able to pull her oldest son, 9-year-old Aiden, to safety, but despite her heroic efforts, she was overcome by flames trying to save 4-year-old Liam, who died at the hospital later that day

Theresa Reed, Ashley's mother, told KTAB and KRBC that "her coming home this close to Christmas is a blessing for all of us. It's a blessing for our whole family."

Theresa, Aiden, and Ashley's husband Glenn have been traveling to and from Lubbock to visit Ashley every weekend and her father, Larry, has been by her side all 160 days, even buying a small RV in order to stay in the area. 

During her stay in the burn unit, staff members had to revive Ashley several times, the most recent being on the operating table in September just days after she had finally begun to show signs of improvement. 

All the "ups and downs" have been hard on Ashley's family, both Theresa and Glenn saying it's the hardest thing they've ever had to do, but they agree that this struggle has brought their family closer together and taught them not to take the little things for granted. 

Glenn says that "It's a relief to know she's getting better. She's always been the person to calm me down and keep me together."

He also hopes Ashley's homecoming will have a positive impact on Aiden, who is still processing not only the loss of his little brother Liam, remembered as his "best friend", but the loss of the comfort he had in his routine with Ashley, who spent much of her time around him as a stay-at-home mom. 

Recovery is far from over for Ashley and her family, with many years of rehab and therapy on the horizon, but it's a relief for Theresa and Glenn knowing she's been showing steady signs of improvement, giving them some time to breathe and begin to look toward the future.

Glenn says they are taking life one day at a time. He and Aiden are currently living with Ashley's parents until they find something more permanent. 

Their focus right now is keeping costs low while allowing Aiden to remain in his current school district. 

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. 


TONIGHT ON KTAB NEWS at 6PM - Hear from the Hardy and Reed families as they welcome Ashley home in time for the first Christmas following the tragic death of her 4-year-old son. 

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