Nurses risk their lives to save elderly patients and newborns from burning hospital after it was seized by California wildfires
The Camp Fire has claimed at least 29 people in northern California till now, making it the deadliest wildfire in the state's recorded history.
Nurses from the Feather River Hospital in Paradise, California on Monday lived to tell the tale of how they risked their lives to save the patients as they had just minutes to escape from a rapidly-spreading wildfire, which ravaged the entire town.
Reports state that the hospital staff just took 20 minutes to evacuate all the patients on Thursday after the deadliest wildfire in California's recorded history, Camp Fire, inched towards the hospital. As the blaze approached, the nurses packed elderly patients and newborns into vehicles and then got in their own cars to head towards safety but were trapped by flames on the road.
Nurse Nichole Jolly, while talking to NBC News, said that she fled in her car after ensuring the patients got to safety, however, she got caught amidst flames when her car was rear-ended and she was pushed into a ravine. She reportedly panicked and called her husband on her cell phone to tell him that she was going to die and to tell her children that she loved them. "I said, "I think I'm going to die. Tell the kids I love them. I'm not gonna make it home,"' Jolly recalled to NBC afterward. "My kids thought I was dead. It was heartbreaking," adding that even though she managed to get out of the car, her pants caught fire.
"My car started to fill up with smoke, someone came up behind me and pushed me off the road and the back of my pants were on fire, the air was so hot. It was burning my lungs. I thought I was going to die," Jolly told GMA on Monday morning.
The nurse, however, managed to survive after she found her way to a nearby fire truck and asked them for help. "They extinguished my pants and put a fire blanket round me," she recalled. Reports state that Jolly was safely able to return to the hospital after a bulldozer cleared their path and she continued to treat patients in a makeshift triage area, which was set up in the parking lot. Jolly's home completely destroyed in the fire but she said that she is grateful to be alive after the ordeal.
"It's completely gone... it's just stuff. I am alive and I thought I was going to die multiple times," she said.
Nichole Jolly, a nurse in Paradise, helped rescue elderly patients as the #campfire beared down on the town hospital. She then narrowly escaped with her life. The harrowing details coming up on @GMA @RobinRoberts #ABCNews #California #Wildfires pic.twitter.com/PWAIR5WYtk— Will Carr (@WillCarr) November 12, 2018
The Camp Fire has claimed at least 29 people in northern California till now, making it the deadliest wildfire in the state's recorded history. The death toll is expected to rise considerably as over 200 people are still unaccounted for after the town was destroyed in the blaze. The Sierra Nevada foothill town of 27,000 residents was reportedly engulfed by the flames so fast that firefighters could not do anything to save it.