Mother whose son, 3, died in a caravan blaze during a weekend sleepover with his father reveals her other boy, 4, who was rescued has made an incredible recovery four months later
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Inferno ripped through caravan near Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales, in January
- Blaze happened while dad Shaun Harvey was having sleepover with his children
- Parents lost their three-year-old son Zac in the fire but Harley was rescued
- Harley was in critical condition in hospital but has made a remarkable recovery
A mother who lost her three-year-old son in a caravan blaze says her other boy, four, is making an incredible recovery – despite being given a slim chance of survival.
Erin Harvey, 28, lost three-year-old Zac Harvey in the tragic inferno earlier this year.
The fire ripped through the home of dad Shaun Harvey at around 5am during a weekend sleepover with his children. He was tragically unable to save Zac but managed to reach his other son Harley and save him.
Harley Harvey suffered severe burns when the caravan fire that took his brother’s life set his father’s home ablaze but he is slowly managing to get back to grips with normality
Zac Harvey (right) was killed by the fire in Ffair Rhos near Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales and his brother Harley (left) is recovering remarkably despite being given a slim chance of survival
Harley was airlifted from the scene and doctors have been amazed by his progress
Harley, four, was left in a critical condition following the horror blaze in Ffair Rhos near Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales.
He was given little chance of surviving his injuries and newly released photos from hospital show the extent of the ordeal he has gone through.
But mum has now revealed that he is making an ‘amazing’ recovery – even attending school before lockdown.
Police say an investigation into the cause of the fire in the early hours of January 19 is still ongoing but it is not being treated as suspicious.
Harley left), seen here with mum Erin, was asleep in the caravan when it suddenly fire caught
It took some adjustments for Harley to return to normality but he has adapted excellently
Erin said: ‘Zac was such a little ray of sunshine, always so happy and cheeky. Our home is very quiet now he’s gone.
‘Harley and his brother Alex are coping well at the moment, and we’ve got support in place.
‘It’s something that will never get any easier and our family will never be the same again.’
She described having nurses and doctors to help ‘around the clock’ when Harley eventually left hospital, after around six weeks.
The boy was airlifted to Bristol Children’s Hospital after the fire, where he stayed until 25 February. He was home by the end of the month.
Erin added: ‘The first few weeks of adjusting to home life was hard, after having nurses and doctors to help around the clock to being on my own with Harley.
Zac’s coffin featured messages from loved ones and the funeral was earlier this year
‘It was worrying for me, but Harley adapted to the change well. We soon got into a routine of medications, baths, dressing changes and creams.
‘He was in a wheelchair for the first few weeks but you wouldn’t even think it now. He’s definitely back to his active self.
‘He still can’t do all the things he could before and needs help with things like eating and toilet trips.
Eric Harvey helped nurse her young son back to health and he was discharged in February
‘He doesn’t have full function of his left hand, but to our amazement he wiggled his fingers for the first time the other day.
‘He’s definitely making progress.
‘He had done two afternoons back in Pontrhydfendigaid School before lockdown happened, and he can’t wait until he can go back and see all his friends.
‘The teachers have been a massive support to us and still continue to check in on us all via phone.
‘We are waiting for an appointment with his consultant to discuss his next surgery in Morriston.
Despite the nature of his injuries, Harley showed great spirit to take recovery in his stride
Mum Erin accepts that it will be a long way back but thanked the Morriston Burns Unit
Initially Harley was given a slim chance of survival given the seriousness of his condition
‘It’s going to be a long road, but the way Harley takes it all and excels in every way possible makes it much easier on us all as a family.
‘The staff at Morriston Burns Unit have been amazing. I would like to thank everyone who is supporting us along our journey.’
The tragic fire shocked the community in the remote village earlier this year.
Neighbours described the screams of devastated dad Shaun, 28, in the aftermath of the blaze.
One said: ‘Shaun was screaming: ‘My boy’s dead. My boy’s dead. I’ve killed my boy. I was telling him that no one had killed anybody – but he was in such a state.’
Neighbour Miriam Connolly, 54, and her husband Sean saw Mr Harvey desperately trying to get back into the caravan to reach his little boy in the village of Ffair-Rhos, near Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire.
At the time of the incident, Shaun Harley was tragically only able to save one of his young sons
Zac was killed by the blaze and neighbours recalled his father’s devastated screams
Mrs Connolly, who was woken by Mr Harvey’s shouts and a plant pot being thrown at her window, said: ‘They kicked the fence down to come to us for help. It was horrific.
‘The caravan went up like a tinder box, we were trying to reassure him he did everything he could to save his child.
‘We ran a cold bath for him and his little boy, they were both in extreme pain. They asked for potato peeling which are supposed to be good for burns.’
Tree surgeon Shaun had been living in the two-berth caravan in his stepmother’s garden after breaking up with Erin the previous summer.
A fundraiser was launched by friends following the tragedy to raise money for the family. The total currently stands at more than £11,000.
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