In a fire that would claim two lives, Alina Raffa made what she called a "split-second decision" to survive. She jumped from her fourth-floor window and hoped for the best.
She told WFMY and USA Today (video above) that when she opened her door and saw that flames had engulfed her hallway at the Fitz Apartments in Aurora, Colo., she thought to herself, "If I stay here I'm gonna die. If I jump I'm probably gonna hurt myself but I'll live. That made it harder knowing that there's no soft place to jump."
Raffa shattered her feet in the leap, but after several operations, she is expected to be walking in several months, according to KDSK.com.
Raffa, a 20-year-old former University of Colorado hospital worker, had planned to move out of the building in 22 days, the website added.
Her feet wrapped in gauze as she lay in her hospital bed, Raffa calmly recounted the Monday night blaze in the news video. She said an unidentified woman picked her up and carried her across the parking lot, then comforted her by stroking her hair until EMTs arrived.
The fire killed a couple, Dom Chanhthavongsa, 64, and her husband, Bounhieng Thammavongsa, 59, and injured 14 others, according to the Denver Post.
Aurora, of course, was the site of a mass shooting in a cinema that killed 12 last month.
On Monday, sirens rang out again. Raffa described the fire as "complete chaos" with "people screaming and crying."
"I was incredulous," she said. "...This couldn't be happening to us."