As a deadly wildfire devoured everything around them, a California couple had to think fast – or risk certain death.
Jan Pascoe, 65, and her husband, John, 70, were trapped in their Santa Rosa home and watched as their serene hillside view became an ominous “wall of fire,” Los Angeles Times reported.
As they desperately searched for shelter, they recalled the neighbor’s pool.
Jan called 911 and told the dispatcher she and John would be in the pool and asked officials to search for them.
“We were in survival mode,” Jan said. “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
The couple debated jumping into the frigid, murky pool. Then a nearby tree caught on fire.
“The heat was ‘whoa,’” John Pascoe said. He told the Los Angeles Times he stripped down to a t-shirt and he told Jan to “jump in now.”
Jan entered the debris-filled water wearing pajama bottoms and a tank top. The two placed shirts over their face to avoid the embers.
The couple remained in the 4-foot-deep pool for six hours until the fire subsided.
"I just kept going under,'' Jan said, "and I kept saying, 'How long does it take for a house to burn down?' We were freezing."
The couple kept warm by holding one another and telling each other how much they loved each other.
The couple had tried to evacuate just after their daughter, Zoe Giraudo, told them her father-in-law’s residence about 40 miles away burned down. She urged them to leave the house. The couple tried to drive but the fire blocked them from leaving.
The Pascoe’s house and cars burned down. Their cat is missing. But they say they are lucky to be alive.
Giraudo and her sister Mia, 32, told the Los Angeles Times that she was worried her parents were dead after not hearing from them. When they got word that their parents were alive, they broke out into tears.
“I started screaming,” Zoe said. “The first thing mom said to me was ‘I feel so bad I wasn’t able to get ahold of you.’ ‘You’re apologizing to me? After all you’ve been through?’”
The wildfires, which broke out Sunday in Sonoma County, have killed at least 31 people.