Nurse who was working on the COVID frontlines loses home in fire: 'This was my safe space'

By , Audacy

After spending the whole day taking care of patients, Tina Irwin looked forward to unwinding at home.

But she no longer has a "space space" after a fire burned down her home while she was working on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic just a few miles away.

"I've been working frontline as a COVID ICU nurse since April -- working five-12, coming home exhausted,'' she told KOCO News.

The ICU nurse was working a long shift at Mercy Hospital when a fire ripped through her Oklahoma City home.

Irwin recalls getting the gut-punching call from her neighbor as she was about to put a patient on life support and realizing three of her four kids were inside.

"I got a hold of my daughter … the terrifying scream. Never heard a scream like this,” she explained of the call.

She noted the last thing her daughter said to her before her phone died was “Please, mom, help us.”

"I had no idea if my kids were out, I had no idea what I was coming home to,” she told CNN.

Irwin immediately jumped into the car and drove home where she saw firefighters working to extinguish the blaze engulfing her home.

"The flames were … I couldn't believe. I'm a single mom and just walking up and everything gone,” she explained.

Irwin managed to save a few keepsakes including her daughter’s graduation cap. The movie “Ladder 49” was also spared, which Irwin thought was “ironic.”

Thankfully, none of her children were injured in the fire.

She credits her son, Justin, who was home for the holidays, for getting his two siblings and the family’s five dogs to safety.

"My daughter was in the back room asleep and my other daughter was in the front bedroom with headphones on doing her semester final," Irwin explained.

Justin said he heard a pop in the garage and went to investigate. "I open the door and the whole garage is like on fire massive fire. I just shut the door, hollered for my sisters and animals and got them out,” he said.

It’s unclear how the fire got started. The Oklahoma City Fire Department is investigating.

A GoFundMe account was set up to help the family recover from the loss.

While the family was looking forward to spending their first Christmas in the home, they’re simply grateful that they will at least have each other.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images