Cou­ple uses pool to sur­vive inferno

Sunshine Coast Daily - - WORLD NEWS -

A MAR­RIED cou­ple from Cal­i­for­nia man­aged to sur­vive six hours in their neigh­bour’s pool while their en­tire neigh­bour­hood was en­gulfed by wild­fires, a re­port says.

Jan Pas­coe, 65, and hus­band, John, 70, were trapped out­side their home in Santa Rose on Mon­day when they made the fate­ful de­ci­sion to seek shel­ter in the black­ened, de­bris-filled pool next door, ac­cord­ing to the LA Times.

With houses burn­ing down all around them, and the flames inch­ing closer, they were able to hide from the deadly heat and em­bers thanks to their quick think­ing.

The cou­ple had been watch­ing the wild­fires fever­ishly from in­side their moun­tain­top home be­fore they even­tu­ally went out­side in the at­tempt to es­cape about 12.40am on Mon­day lo­cal time, LA Times re­ports.

“We were in sur­vival mode,” Jan told the news­pa­per, ex­plain­ing how they first jumped in their car and tried speed­ing away, to no avail.

“It was a wall of flames,” she said, de­scrib­ing the end of their drive­way.

“What are we go­ing to do? What are we go­ing to do?”

Fear­ing the worst, Jan and her hus­band thought of their neigh­bour’s pool and quickly made a run for it.

All Jan was wear­ing was a tank top and py­jama bot­toms. She said her glasses dis­ap­peared the minute she hit the wa­ter.

“I just kept go­ing un­der,” she said. “And I kept say­ing, ‘How long does it take for a house to burn down?”

In or­der to pro­tect them­selves from the smoke and em­bers, the Pas­coes used T-shirts to hold over their faces while bob­bing in and out of the wa­ter.

When they got out, Jan’s shoes and per­sonal be­long­ings she had left by the pool were melted – and ev­ery­thing around them, in­clud­ing their home and their neigh­bours’ homes, was de­stroyed.

“We held hands,” John said, “and walked out.”

The wild­fires in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia have killed at least 31 peo­ple – mak­ing this the dead­li­est sin­gle week of wild­fires in the state’s his­tory.

– Chris Perez, New York Post

PHOTO: JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA

DEAD END: A cul de sac in Santa Rosa, Cal­i­for­nia il­lus­trates the dev­as­ta­tion wrought by wild­fires in the Napa, Sonoma and Men­do­cino coun­ties.

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