Fire Survivor Helps Others Recover - 8 News NOW

Fire Survivor Helps Other Burn Victims Recover

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LAS VEGAS -- A tragic fire this week has left a local woman in critical condition, facing a long road to recovery.

Her fight is shedding light on the struggles of burn victims, and one survivor is sharing that unique perspective.

Just blocks away from Wednesday's fire, Angela Merritt's mind went immediately to the survivor. She had one thing on her mind.

"The first thing I thought about, I hope nobody got burned," she said. "I wouldn't wish this on anybody."

That fatal fire not only cost one man his life, but left a woman with burns.

Friday, during a rare look inside the University Medical Center Burn Center, Merritt explained what she went through when she was in a fire.

"The smoke was so intense," Merritt said. "I was in a house fire 24 years ago and I was 75 percent burned."

She is now concerned about the woman who survived getting treatment because of what she has been through.

Merritt was living in Los Angeles at the time of the fire, but the burn center is her home now.

"I love UMC. I love Las Vegas," Merritt said.

She says she has had about 300 surgeries, and after being treated at UMC, she landed a job in another department here.

"Yeah, I'm a burn survivor but I turned it around to make it positive, and if I can spread that amongst everybody, then I'm happy," Merritt said.

She still visits the burn center.

"When I first saw myself, I wanted to die," Merritt said.

A reminder of the challenges she overcame.

"I didn't want to live because of the pain, you know, society, you know, that is what I fear for with other people because people aren't nice to you when they look at you, but when they know you, then they say they don't see the burns but we will always see our burns," Merritt said.

Now, the woman rescued from that fire in Angela's neighborhood is on her mind.

"Every time I hear a fire, I always pray and hope you know. If they did get burned, they can recover like I did. You can do what you want to do, if you have the will to do it. You have to have the will to do it," Merritt said.

The UMC Burn Center is the only one in the state of Nevada

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