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Boulder woman released from the hospital after suffering burns from the Marshall Fire

She, her boyfriend burned while trying to escape
Escaping the Marshall Fire
Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 22:32:02-05

BOULDER, Colo. — In a moment of immediate need and danger, Zoe Assaly didn’t hesitate.

"I rushed out there, and it ended up being a good thing in the end," she said.

When the Marshall Fire erupted, Assaly left her home in Boulder and drove to her boyfriend’s mother's home in Spanish Hills to help them evacuate. As soon as she arrived, smoke was already in the distance.

"It looked like we had a few minutes," she said.

The first person to escape was Assaly's boyfriend's mother.

"She had her vehicle, and we got it packed hastily with some of her stuff and one of the dogs," said Cassidy, Assaly's boyfriend.

Assaly and Cassidy kept packing the last of their belongings, but it was too late. The fire had reached the property.

"A wave of flames just engulfed both of us, and we got hit by 115 mph sustained blast," Assaly said. "My hair was sort of on fire, and I had a scarf on and this jacket and fell down, and he (Cassidy) just got burned all over his face and his ears."

Cassidy grabbed Assaly and took her inside for cover from the flames.

"He comes in right behind me, and he slams the door hard," Assaly recalled. "It took significant effort, I could see that with the flames and sparks just beating at the door."

Both of them knew they were running out of time and made a decision that saved their lives.

"[He] grabbed me off the couch, pulled the back door open, and we ran out into an inferno," said Assaly.

Together along with their dog, Assaly and Cassidy climbed up the embankment and made it to the driveway, where a neighbor found them and gave them a ride out.

"There is no way we would be here without him," said Assaly.

Shortly after escaping the wildfire, their injuries became clear.

"The longer we are sitting there, the more the adrenaline is wearing off and the more the pain is kicking in, and she is just kicking and flailing frantically," Cassidy recalled.

An ambulance met them on the road, and Assaly was rushed to the hospital, where she is remained unconscious in the ICU for days.

"I was told that I could possibly have fingers cut off, the tops of my fingers, and that I would definitely need skin grafts and that I would be in there for a few months," she said.

Instead, she was able to leave the hospital after two weeks and is recovering rapidly.

"I’ve had people all over the world practicing, praying and meditating for me," Assaly said.

Even after all she’s been through, Assaly says regrets don’t enter her mind because she knows the difference she made that day.

"Not even a little bit," she said. "I would do it again."

The family has set up a GoFundMe in order to help them with medical bills and other costs.

From housing to food banks and everything else in between, there are many ways people affected by the Marshall Fire can get help — and how you can help. Click here for more.