Heather Roebuck was recovering from a cesarean section at Feather River Hospital when the fire came to town, quickly torching homes and businesses. “I heard over the loudspeaker that they were evacuating the hospital and I was shocked. 'Me? Us? Does that mean me? I know I am in the middle of surgery,'” she told Inside Edition.
Her husband grabbed new baby Hallie, while Roebuck was taken to an ambulance together with other patients. “It was just the scariest moment I could ever imagine,” she said.
However, that was only the beginning. As they were fleeing, the ambulance caught fire. Still numb from the waist down from surgery, Roebuck couldn’t move. In that moment, she was convinced she was going to die and called her husband.
“I ... said goodbye to my husband and told him that I was sorry I wasn't going to be there for our kids and I love him and excepted the fact that I wasn’t going to make it,” she said.
Suddenly, Paradise Fire Chief David Hawks appeared in the middle of the firestorm and directed nurse Tamara Ferguson to usher patients to a nearby garage surrounded by flames. Using the doggy door, they broke into it and buckled down, working to fireproof the space as best they could. They cleared away pine needles and hosed the area down.
Meantime, Roebuck focused on trying to regain feeling in her legs. “All I kept thinking was, ‘Move your legs, move your legs, what if the house catches fire what if they can't get to you?’” she said.
After two horrifying hours, the fire passed over the home and they were safe. Incredibly, houses next door burned to the ground.
Desiree Borden owns the miracle home that provided shelter. She'd evacuated when the fire broke out. “When they told me that the home saved all of these lives I thought the home served its purpose,” she told Inside Edition.
Inside Edition brought together the fire chief, the homeowner, new mom, and nurse for the first time. The women couldn't thank the fire chief enough for saving their lives and the people, once strangers, now have an unbreakable bond.