ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Stacey Leasca
October 13, 2017

A pregnant woman’s quick thinking and resilience may have saved her family from the deadly wildfires ravaging Northern California.

According to CBS, Charity Ruiz — along with her husband and two daughters — attempted to flee the fire zone after the flames leapt across Highway 101 and spread into the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa.

But as they drove away, the family was thwarted by an impenetrable traffic jam of other evacuees.

“Honestly, I’ve never in my life felt like I was going to die like that moment,” Ruiz told CBS. “Not just me, but my girls and unborn baby.”

Rather than wait it out, Ruiz described how she left the car and went back to their home alone, where she gathered her bicycle and toddler seat. She then biked back to the car, put her children in the back and peddled for her life.

“It was hard,” Ruiz said. “I didn’t want to tip over. I didn’t want to fall. I just kept yelling at the girls, tell me if you’re okay!”

Finally, Ruiz was rescued by a well-wisher who drove her and her children to a safe location, where she was reunited with her husband.

While the family is safe, Ruiz's struggle isn't over. She was scheduled for a C-section next week, however, the hospital where she expected to deliver is closed due to the fire.

“Our hospital is shut down right now, so I don’t know if that will happen. I’m just waiting to hear back from somebody,” she explained.

The Ruiz family, along with thousands of other survivors, also lost their home to the flames. To help with the long and arduous recovery effort, consider donating your time, money, or goods.

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