ABILENE, TX - Officials believe an apartment fire Wednesday morning that claimed the life of a 4-year-old was accidental in nature.
During a press conference Thursday afternoon, members of the Abilene Fire Department gave an update on the fire at the Warwick Apartment Complex on Arrowhead Road that claimed the life of Liam Hardy, 4. The fire also injured his brother, Aiden, 9, and his mother Ashley.
Investigators believed the fire started in the living room just as the boys had laid down for a nap. Fire Capitan Jeremy Williams said Aiden told investigators he heard a noise, went to go see what it was, and found his mother putting the fire out with an extinguisher.
She then told Aiden to run outside, but the door was locked, so she had to help him out. She then ran back in to save Liam. She was overcome by smoke before she could reach him and both had to be rescued from the apartment.
Two bystanders, John Farrell and Michael Garcia, were first on scene and were able to pull Ashley outside. Firefighters arrived soon after and pulled Liam out of the apartment. He was unconscious at the scene but was resuscitated at the hospital.
Fire Chief Larry Bell called Farrell's and Garcia's actions 'heroic' during the press conference.
Aiden was treated for burns and smoke inhalation at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. Ashley and Liam were both flown to a burn center in Lubbock, where Liam passed away later that night.
Ashley remained in serious condition with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 80 percent of her body.
One of the firefighters sustained minor burns while trying to rescue Liam.
Witnesses reported hearing an explosion, but investigators believe the explosion occurred after the fire had already started and was a byproduct of the intense heat and flames.
Two smoke detectors were in the apartment, but fire officials say there's no way to know if they functioned properly or not.
Twenty one residents were displaced.
(Information from bigcountryhomepage.com)
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