How a Paradise garage, miraculously untouched by fire, saved a fleet of nurses and their patients

Around 5 p.m. on Friday, Desiree Borden received a Facebook message from a name she didn't recognize.
"I know this is random," the message read, "is your house at 1830 Chloe court in paradise?" The sender, Crissy Foster, said she saw Borden's name on the mailbox outside the house.
Yes, that's my home, Borden replied. "Is it gone?"
Borden, her husband and their one-year-old had fled 1830 Chloe Court in Paradise at eight that morning, about 90 minutes after the Camp Fire erupted nearby. In the days since the Bordens fled, the wildfire has leveled much of the small town in the foothills of the Sierra.
Borden, 41, and her family fled for Chico by car — their five dogs and the handful of objects they could grab were crammed in the backseat. It took them two hours to travel just two blocks, but they made it to Chico by the afternoon, escaping the deadly path of the wildfire that blindsided many of their neighbors.
A few hours after arriving to Chico, Borden received Foster's message.
"Your garage is a safe haven!" Foster said, after confirming Borden's address.
She went on to identify herself as a nurse at Feather River Hospital, located a few blocks away from Borden's home. She and other hospital personnel had fled the burning hospital that afternoon, evacuating patients by ambulance.
Foster told Borden that one of the ambulances in the evacuating fleet caught fire on Chloe Court, just outside Borden's home. The medical personnel fled the burning vehicle, running for cover in the house — one of the few on the street that wasn't on fire. They carried their patients with them, some of whom were in critical condition, and set up inside the Borden's garage as they awaited rescue. A neighbor doused the roof with a hose to stave off the encroaching flames.
Tamara Ferguson, one of the nurses in the fleet, recalled the tense evacuation in a Facebook post. She said her ambulance traveled just a mile before the vehicle in front of them caught fire and the radio dispatcher told them they couldn't move on yet.
"I looked around as fire surrounded us, transformers were blowing up and the winds were sooo fierce," she wrote. "This is when I looked at Chrissy and realized we might not make it out alive."
She said they laid the patients down on the floor of the garage and "tried to reassure their scared faces, while hiding ours." In the meantime, Ferguson and Foster cleared brush around the house, hoping to buy time before the fire eventually reached the garage.
After "what seemed like forever," the ambulance got the go-ahead to leave the garage and return to the Feather River Hospital. Those traveling in the burning vehicle were carried in a truck. Hospital staff attended to patients as they awaited an escort to nearby hospitals outside the path of flames.
"Not one person [was left] behind," Ferguson wrote.
All the patients were safely evacuated, a hospital spokesperson told CBS.
Bordon shared her message exchange with Foster on Facebook as an emblem of hope and survival amid so much destruction. Their conversation has since gone viral.
Speaking by phone from Chico on Friday, Borden said she felt that "God had saved our home so that these people could be saved."
"I think that is what the home's purpose was," she said. "It was for them." She is unsure if the house is still standing.
As of Monday morning, the fire had burned 113,000 acres, destroyed 6,713 structures and killed 29 people. It stands as the most destructive wildfire in state history and is tied with Los Angeles' Griffith Park Fire in 1933 as the deadliest.
How a Paradise garage, miraculously untouched by fire, saved a fleet of nurses and their patients How a Paradise garage, miraculously untouched by fire, saved a fleet of nurses and their patients Reviewed by Your Destination on November 16, 2018 Rating: 5

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