Woman survives apartment fire by leaping out 4th story window

7:34 PM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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Raffa escaped a fire at the Fitz Apartments in Aurora by jumping out of her fourth-story window. It was her only way out.

"It was incredulous," she said. "My first thought seeing the flames billowing out of the window, 'this can't be us. There is no way this is happening,' then opening my front door and the flames already being in the hallway."

Raffa has lived at The Fitz for some time. She used to work at the University of Colorado Hospital. She says walking to work was great, but the area changed. She was 22 days away from moving when the fire broke out Monday night, killing two people and injuring 15 others, including Raffa.

"It was complete chaos," Raffa told 9NEWS from her hospital bed. "There were people screaming and crying. Even across the parking lot you can still feel the heat of the building. It would come in waves."

The jump broke both her feet and injured her back. She is about to undergo a number of surgeries because of what she had to do to survive.

"My first thought was to go to my front door, seeing hopefully I could get out from the opposite side," she said. "I open the door and it was already engulfed, and my door handle was already hot. I was thinking I'm going to have to jump."


Raffa was in her pajamas. The only thing she was able to grab was her cell phone.
"If I stay here, I'm going to die," she said. "If I jump, I'm probably going to hurt myself. Odds are I'll live."

"That made it even harder," she added, "jumping, knowing there is no soft place to jump. No matter what I'm going get hurt, but I'm going to make it out alive."

After she jumped, a woman Raffa didn't know carried her away from the building to safety.

"It was extraordinary to have something like that in the situation," Raffa said.

She said she wants to meet the woman who carried her away and thank her.
Raffa is expected to be walking in several months.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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