Gina Russo’s last thought as she headed to the door of The Station nightclub on Feb. 20, 2003, was “Please God, let my kids forgive me for dying here.” She woke up from a medically induced coma 11 weeks later with no left ear, fourth-degree burns that exposed the bones in her scalp, third-degree burns to her neck, back, arms and right leg, and no memory of a fire — until someone at her side mentioned The Station nightclub.

Gina Russo’s last thought as she headed to the door of The Station nightclub on Feb. 20, 2003, was “Please God, let my kids forgive me for dying here.” She woke up from a medically induced coma 11 weeks later with no left ear, fourth-degree burns that exposed the bones in her scalp, third-degree burns to her neck, back, arms and right leg, and no memory of a fire — until someone at her side mentioned The Station nightclub.

“He asked if I remembered a fire and I shook my head and then he asked if I remembered The Station nightclub and a wall of flames flashed around me,” she said of the questions her lawyer Mark Mandel asked on the day she woke up.

“He said, ‘The look on your face petrified me.’”

Russo tells her compelling and inspiring story in a book released this month with the assistance of Rhode Island writer Paul Lonardo in “From the Ashes: Surviving the Station Nightclub Fire, a Personal Story of Tragedy and Triumph.”

“I hope people read it and realize you can rise above anything; it’s patience and time. Life can really be good again after trauma,” she said. “I had two kids to raise, and I wanted them to see that. Hopefully if it can help one other person then it was worth putting myself out there.”

On the night of Feb. 20, 2003, Russo said, she and her fiancé, Freddy Crisostomi, were standing directly in front of the stage when her fiancé noticed a problem with Great White’s pyrotechnic display.

“He knew there was something wrong right away. We left our drinks on the stage and went to a side door about three steps to where we were standing. But a bouncer there tried to tell us the door was only for the band and he wouldn’t let us leave,” she said. “By that time the curtain of a drape in the drummer’s alcove was on fire, so we turned and tried to make it to the front entrance. We got to the middle of the club and Fred started to feel sick. He pushed me in the middle of the back as if to say ‘Go,’ and that was the last contact I ever had with him.”

Crisostomi is among the 96 people who died that night; four others later died from injures suffered in the fire. Russo said the doctors at the burn center at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston didn’t expect her to live either. The burns were secondary to the tar buildup from the fire in her lungs, which was causing all of her other organs to shut down.

Her two sons, Alex, 9, and Nick, 6, at the time, her parents and other family members were told not to expect her to live as they watched doctors hook her up to an experimental ventilator that spritzed medicine into her lungs.

“My family sat and watched black tar and junk coming out of my lungs through the tubes. Hour by hour, I survived, and three or four days later they began to think I was going to make it,” she said. “That machine truly saved my life.”

She has no memory of catching on fire or of the person who pulled her from the pile of bodies at the door of the nightclub, who is still unknown to her to this day. In reconstructing the night, she researched records from Miriam Hospital, where she was initially brought before being transported to Boston, and she learned she had been given the drug Ativan, which she attributes to the loss of memory of the painful burns and being transported to the two hospitals.

“I’m blessed. I have no recollection of the pain,” she said.

The injuries from the fire left her with no left ear and a lifetime of continual skin grafts to the burned areas that covered 40 percent of her body. It took a year and a half for skin to regrow on her scalp though she’ll never be able to grow hair.

“When I woke up from that coma I didn’t sleep for two or three years. I cried every night and I sat up worrying about how I was going to function and raise my two kids,” she said.

But through the emotional and physical healing process and a fight for justice in The Station fire civil and criminal cases, she said she’s discovered a much stronger person than she ever realized existed.

“You learn to love who you are now and you also need to mourn the person you were,” she said. “It wasn’t just OK that I survived the fire. I had to get on with my life — I’ve been blessed with becoming someone who’s a much stronger person.”

Her long road back to life and the lengthy civil and criminal cases brought Russo a new love, her husband, Steve Sherman. Today they live in Cranston, her hometown, with her two sons. In 2006 she returned to work at Rhode Island Hospital, where she works in the Children’s Rehabilitation Center. She’s also become certified to help other burn survivors through the National Phoenix Society’s Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery Program, which she said helped her realize the stronger person she’s become today.

“It’s been amazing to give back to other people,” she said.

Last night Russo and the group of survivors and victims’ family members were to meet at the Cowesett Inn in West Warwick, R.I., (across the street from the site of the fire) for the annual memorial on the day of the fire. Russo, who is listed fourth on a list of the 15 survivors who suffered the most severe burns, said the tragic fire has resulted in an unbreakable bond in the group.

“It started out as a sad thing, but it evolved into a new group of friends,” she said. “They’re amazing people. Even the ones who were severely burned have found a new way to get back into life.”

Lonardo is also the co-author of “Thrill Killers,” the nonfiction story of the double homicide of Lakeville native Jason Burgeson and his friend Amy Shute, and “Strike IX,” which tells the story of the 1999 Providence College Friars, and the upcoming “Caught in the Act,” a nonfiction piece about a knife-wielding serial killer’s attack on Jeannie McDonough in her Chelmsford home.