Charity Ruiz, who is nearly full term in her pregnancy, evacuated her home in the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa with her two children this week when severe flames continued to grow and encroach upon the family’s house.
According to KPIX, Ruiz attempted to flee the area in her car, but since everyone else in her neighborhood had the same idea, traffic jams made getting out quickly impossible.
“Honestly, I’ve never in my life felt like I was going to die like (I did in) that moment,” Ruiz told KPIX. “Not just me, but my girls and unborn baby.” When the traffic didn’t let up, Ruiz went back to her home and grabbed her bike, which was equipped with a toddler trailer big enough for her two girls.
Then she began peddling away from the area.
“It was hard. I didn’t want to tip over,” Ruiz said. “I didn’t want to fall. I just kept yelling at the girls, tell me if you’re okay!”
During the bike ride, a good Samaritan told the Ruizes to get in his car. The man took the Ruizes to a family friend’s home, where they were reunited with Ruiz’s husband.
The Ruiz home was burned in the fire along with the family’s belongings. And the Santa Rosa hospital where Ruiz was scheduled to give birth via C-section next week is closed.
A sister hospital has offered to perform the procedure.
Ruiz said she’s heartbroken to know she won’t be able to bring her newborn to her family’s home.
According to KPIX, the family is considering naming the baby boy Phoenix, after the mystical bird said to rise from ashes.
Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California
More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. (ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)