The incredible story behind the Beirut nurse who saved 3 babies from the blast

“The thing that I felt was that these babies belong to me; they are under my protection."
/ Source: TODAY

A powerful image of a nurse has emerged in the wake of the devastation caused by a massive explosion in Beirut last week.

The picture, which was captured by photojournalist Bilal Jawich at Saint George Hospital University Medical Center, shows Pamela Zeinoun calmly cradling three newborn premature babies.

“She was surrounded by dead bodies and blood. People were crying,” Jawich told TODAY Parents. “I was astonished and surprised by how calm she was. She was just doing her duty. She wasn't looking to be a hero."

Zeinoun, who briefly knocked unconscious by the blast, was attempting to call her mother when Jawich snapped the photo.

“Of course the phones weren’t working,” Jawich said. “Everything was destroyed.”

Zeinoun rescued the children from their incubators in the pitch black as the roof collapsed on them.

“The thing that I felt was that these babies belong to me; they are under my protection," Zeinoun told ITV News. “If they are going to make it, they are going to make it with me.”

At the same hospital, Emmanuel Khnaisser was preparing to give birth when the blast ripped through her delivery room. The terrifying moment was filmed by her husband, Edmound Khnaisser.

“I was afraid she was dead or the baby was dead,” he told the BBC. “Everything was shattering around (us).”

But that day, Emmanuel delivered a healthy little boy named George. Edmond described the birth as "old-style labor" without electricity or medication.

“Huge appreciation to St. George Hospital team, who stayed with us until we were safe, and even afterwards,” Edmound wrote on Facebook. “On behalf of Baby George: ‘Thank you for bringing me safely into this world. I hope I can pay you back some day.’ Stay safe everyone and pray for our beloved Lebanon.”

The Aug. 4 blast that killed at least 171 people and injured thousands occurred when a fire in a port warehouse ignited hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate.