Ashley Thomas was a helpful friend, devoted to her family, her friends and her dog, Daisy. A wedding photographer who studied at the prestigious Hallmark Institute of Photography in Massachusetts, she was originally from Gilford, New Hampshire, and ran a business in Portland with Mat Garber, called Mat & Ash Photography.

“She had such a positive soul, exuding love with every day,” said Garber, her close friend and business partner, who described himself as her soulmate.

Thomas was a reliable friend whose concern for others in need “would make your heart melt,” Garber said.

“She was the world to many people,” he said. She was a loving daughter who cared deeply for her parents, he said.

Collin Spillane of Portland, a friend of several of the residents at 20 Noyes St., said Thomas was known for hosting great parties.

Garber said Thomas was devoted to Daisy, who he believes also died in the fire. “They fell asleep together and took the next journey to another world together. Just how she would have wanted it.”

“Ashley has been taken from us far too soon, and will live on in all those who loved her,” Garber said. “She would want us to celebrate her and live life to its fullest, just like she did till the very end.”

– David Hench