A heartwarming homecoming for 5-year-old fire survivor


by Johnny Archer


Posted on March 8, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 8 at 10:39 PM

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Fire fighters and police escorted a parade through the streets of New Albany Saturday morning to welcome home 5-year-old Tatyana Hughes.

“I want to thank each and every one of you for coming out today to celebrate something so phenomenal with us,” Tatyana’s grandmother, Marie Clark, said to a crowd gathered at the New Albany Parks and Recreation Center.

Clark thanked the community for standing by her family's side during painful times.

It was just two month ago when Tatyana was severely burned in a house fire in New Albany. Tragically, her two sisters and brother were killed. Police have made several arrests in connection to the fire that nearly took Tatyana’s life too if it wasn't for one man.

“Bob Hannon saved my baby's life,” Clark said. “He got her out of that fire. He saved her life and pulled her out of that fire. She pulled herself out of the room. But he got her the rest of the way. He’s our hero. He saved her.”

Sergeant Robert Hannon with New Albany Fire Department remembers that fateful morning - Jan. 4 - on Ealy Street.

“I found her [Tatyana] by feel, not by sight,” Hannon said. “Crawling around [on my hands and knees] in the heat and the smoke unable to see. [I] felt her, picked her up and left the house.”

Saturday, the two were reunited for the first time since the fire. It is something Hannon said he thought would be impossible when he first held Tatyana in his arms.

“Finding her in the state that she was in was grave,” Hannon said. “I thought no. No chance.”

Miraculously, Tatyana not only survived, but healed faster than expected. She spent nine weeks recovering at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Now, she is back home with friends and family.

“It’s such a blessing,” Clark said.

Tatyana still needs a brace to help her walk and she will continue physical therapy at Kosair Children's Hospital.