An operating room nurse is grabbing attention for a photo she snapped as the Marshall Fire began tearing through Colorado communities. Now, she’s sharing the image in hopes to help the victims.
Wendy Cardona captured the moment her colleagues stared out the window at SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, on Dec. 30, 2021 as the fire burned thousands of acres in Boulder County, where roughly 30,000 people were forced to evacuate.
Nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed and local hospitals underwent emergency transfer procedures.
“The surgical technologist and I were getting ready for a case,” Cardona told Fox News via email. “We smelled smoke, noticed there was commotion and then we were informed to stop opening instrumentation due to the fires.”
She went on: “I can only speak for myself, but I am deeply saddened at the tragic loss, the loss of homes, pets and treasured memories. This photo has received a lot of attention and I just want to use this in some small measure as a means to help those so deeply affected deal with their losses and this trauma.”
Cardona said she felt compelled to take the picture of her colleagues watching the fire after the dark hospital room amplified the view.
Cardona’s photo was shared with local news outlets as well as on her GoFundMe campaign titled, Project Joy. All proceeds will go to those who were affected by the fire, Cardona said.
“I want this picture not to be remembered for the tragedy it depicts, but rather for the community it brings together,” Cardona wrote in part on GoFundMe. “A community that lifts those we do not even know up as best we can to help get the victims through this.
“Another subtly that I do not want to get lost in this picture is the brave men and women it shows answering the call to action,” she added. “You can see ambulances lined up outside of this hospital to take patients out of harms way to the safety of other medical facilities. This same response played out at many hospitals in the evacuation zones with many other medical professionals”
SCL Health told Fox News in a statement that out of an “abundance of caution,” Good Samaritan Medical Center activated its Incident Command teams and transferred its most critical and fragile 55 patients to nearby facilities after the National Weather Service issued a “life threat” alert.
Normal operations resumed the following morning after the wildfires were contained and no longer a potential threat to the hospital
“The safe and efficient transfer of our patients due to the fire would not have been possible without the support of many local EMS and public safety departments,” SCL Health said. “We are grateful for their work.”
Six Good Samaritan staffers lost their homes in the fire and nearly two dozen were directly impacted. Gifts in support of these families may be made to SCL Health Foundation’s Emergency Fund.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.