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A nurse’s home burned down while she was caring for a critical Covid-19 patient

Fire that ravaged nurse Tina Irwin's house.

After caring for Covid-19 patients all day, what Tina Irwin looked forward to the most was walking through the doors of a house she worked hard to make a home.

Now, she’s left with a handful of charred photos, damaged possessions and two years worth of memories after a fire destroyed her home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Tuesday.

Irwin, a nurse at Mercy Hospital, just a few miles away from her home, told CNN she was about to put a Covid-19 patient on life support when her neighbor called and said her home was on fire.

The single mother of four ran out of the hospital and called one of her daughters, who was in the home at the time, to see what was happening.

“She was just screaming, ‘Help mom, help,’ and then the phone went dead,” Irwin said. “I had no idea if my kids were out, I had no idea what I was coming home to.”

A place to ‘recharge’

When Irwin pulled up to her house, firefighters were working to extinguish the fire. All three of her children who were inside the home made it out safely– along with five of their dogs.

“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 said. She credits her son for getting the siblings out of the home safely and unharmed.

This Christmas would have been the family’s first in their home and they were looking forward to spending it together.

“I come home just so exhausted to where I almost just don’t have anything left in me,” she said. “And the one place I always look forward to coming to is my home and that’s the one place I can recharge.”

She said work can be overwhelming.

“It’s just insane,” she said. “We’re working tirelessly and they (patients) just keep coming and they’re sick. They’ll be fine for a few hours and next thing you know you’re coding them and administering CPR to get their heart to start again.”

Irwin said the fire department and investigators are still working to determine the exact cause of the fire but told her she probably won’t be able to return home any time soon.

“It’s OK to not be OK,” Irwin said. “I just have to keep telling myself that.”

‘Everybody lost everything except for what was on their backs’

Irwin said the fire stripped her family of all their basic necessities like clothes and food.

“I just can’t process the thought right now,” she said. “Everybody lost everything except for what was on their backs.”

Neighbors have paid for a few days of hotel stay for Irwin and her children while community members have donated a few essential items to keep the family on its feet.

“I know it sounds silly, but last night we got to put our clothes in drawers and that’s the most normalcy we have right now, just a few clothes in the drawers,” Irwin said.

Patti Fanshier and Irwin have a 15-year friendship under their belt. When she heard what happened, Fanshier told CNN she immediately wanted to help.

She created a GoFundMe to support Irwin and her children with basic necessities for the next few weeks.

Fanshier describes Irwin as a hardworking mother who “has always put her kids’ needs before her own.” It’s hard for Irwin to ask for help, she said.

“I figured if I could share what happened to her, many people would want to help- even if it wasn’t financially, but by sharing the link to get the word out,” Fanshier said.

Irwin hopes to land a rental property within the next few weeks until the damages to her home are repaired. And even though Irwin said she lost so much in a single afternoon, she’s grateful to still have her children standing by her side.

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