Arcadia Firefighters Reunite With Girl They Saved in 2008

Ten years later they give Ashley Barrancos a birthday party at Arcadia Fire Station 105

By Terry Miller

Approximately a decade ago, Arcadia firefighters were dispatched to a call for an unresponsive two-year-old female experiencing what no child normally experiences at this age, cardiac arrest.

The toddler was attending a birthday party when suddenly she went into cardiac arrest on Dec. 20, 2008. The responding firefighters/paramedics had never seen anything like this call before. Their extensive training and instincts kicked in and they were able to revive the toddler via minor shock to the heart via a defibrillator.

Ashley Barrancos in 2009. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

On duty that day was a remarkable team of firefighters/paramedics including Battalion Chief Kevin Valentine, Captain John Twitchell, Captain Joe Herrick, Engineer Drew Pryor and Captain Charlie Tuggle.

It was a previously undiagnosed condition that left Ashley Barrancos in cardiac arrest. She was treated by the above mentioned firefighters and then transported to the Arcadia Methodist emergency room. A panic stricken mother, Leydi Barrancos, and family members spent the next six weeks in hospitals while she recovered from the trauma.

Doctors and specialists in the field of cardiology decided a surgical pacemaker was necessary to correct any future arrhythmia Ashely may face. At Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles Dr. Michael Silka and Dr. Joseph Adhoot cared for Ashley.

Since that day back in 2008, Ashley has had three surgeries and is leading a happy normal life of a pre-teenager, albeit with some daily medicine and follow up visits with her doctors.  She has been fitted with a small pacemaker.

On Saturday, Ashley brought along her family to meet up with the men who saved her a decade ago and have a personal guided tour of Arcadia Fire Station 105. In the first part of the afternoon, Engineer Drew Pryor invited Ashley for a ride in one of the fire engines. Excitedly, grinning from ear to ear, Ashely was given a headset, strapped into the front seat of the fire engine and off they went, code three (lights and sirens) around the block.

(Left to Right) Captain John Twitchell, Engineer Drew Pryor, Ashley Barrancos, Captain Joe Herrick, and Battalion Chief Kevin Valentine. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

Then the family was given a VIP tour of the rest of the station, culminating in a surprise birthday party for Ashley in the firehouse kitchen where scores of Arcadia firefighters joined in, singing “Happy Birthday” to Ashley as she blew out the candles of a beautifully decorated birthday cake.

It was an emotional day not only for Ashley’s family but for the firefighters too. Many of those attending to Ashley in 2008 are also fathers and wondered how they’d react if that was their child.

Arcadia firefighters are unique, highly-trained and skilled individuals, but also human beings. Ashley’s mom thanked each of the firefighters with hugs and a few tears of joy that Ashley is around today; thanks in no small part to the dedicated firefighters at Station 105.

“I was so happy (Sunday) and so grateful that God put these Angels (Arcadia Firefighters) into my life and I have my Ashley with me today because of these men,” Leydi Barrancos told Arcadia Weekly.

September 19, 2018

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Terry Miller

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