News

Nov 16, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall

This Mom Thought She'd Die After Giving Birth During The California Fires, Then They Stepped In

Heather Roebuck's birth experience nearly ended in tragedy after her fresh c-section left her unable to walk while attempting to evacuate due to the relentless California wildfires. However, an incredible collaboration of total strangers led to her safe escape and reunion with her family.

“It was sheer terror,” Roebuck said to ABC10, recalling her evacuation in an ambulance shortly after giving birth. “They just stitched me up really quickly.”

The ambulance carrying Roebuck had only driven half a mile from the hospital when it caught on fire. Unable to walk and surrounded by flames, she made what she thought would be her last call to her husband.

"I realize I’m not going to make it, I’m really sorry,” she told him.

What happened next was a miracle: total strangers went from saying their last goodbyes to fighting for survival in a matter of moments. A pediatrician, who seemed to appear out of nowhere, placed Roebuck on a backboard and dragged her out into the street, and that was only the beginning.

"I see the paramedic on the roof, spraying down the roof,” nurse Tamara Ferguson told ABC10. "I see someone over here with a hose filling buckets. Chrissy is sweeping, someone with a shovel, I picked up piles of brush and cleared them to the road."

Paradise Fire Chief David Hawks also showed up to shuttle Roebuck and another ambulance of full of hospital patients into the nearest house. "There’s a dog door here that one of the paramedics made access to. We unlocked the garage, moved patients into this home and sheltered them in place," Hawks told Fox News.

While the homes on either side each of the house were destroyed by the fire, the home Roebuck and other Feather River Hospital ambulance patients sought shelter in only had a burned fence.

The home belongs to Desiree Borden, who had already barely escaped the fire along with her husband and daughter that night. "Once you got past one fire, there was another one, once you got past the next one, power poles were falling on you,” Borden told Good Day Sacramento.

Then, Borden received a shocking phone call: "They said, 'Your home was a safe haven for us, your home saved our lives.’"

Roebuck credited the bravery and teamwork of all these people with her survival and return to her family: "They saved our family, and if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here."



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