This was my safe place’: ICU nurse’s home burns down while she’s trying to save COVID-19 patients


An Oklahoma nurse who is working on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients was dealt a devastating blow when a fire ripped through her northwest Oklahoma City home.

Tina Irwin is an ICU nurse at Mercy Hospital, just down the road from her home. She said she has been working 12-hour days at the hospital since April. She was on a shift when she got a call from a neighbor that her home was on fire.

Three of her four children were inside the home at the time.

“I got ahold of my daughter … the terrifying scream. Never heard a scream like this,” Irwin said, describing the gut-wrenching call with her older daughter.

“Please, mom, help us,” her daughter said before the phone went dead.

Irwin made the four-mile drive from Mercy to her home.

“The flames were … I couldn’t believe. I’m a single mom and just walking up and everything gone,” Irwin said.

Irwin was able to save a few pictures and her daughter’s graduation cap – but not her gown.

“And a movie — Ladder 49. I thought that was ironic,” Irwin said.

The bumper of her car melted and the inside of her home was destroyed.

“I’ve been working frontline as a COVID ICU nurse since April — working five-12, coming home exhausted,” she said. “This was my safe place.”

Her son, Justin, was home for the holidays when he heard a pop in the garage.

“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.

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He was able to get his two siblings and their pets out of the home in time.

The Irwins have lost a lot a week before Christmas but are thankful they have each other.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department is working to determine how the fire started.

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