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