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Couple survives California bushfires by hiding in neighbour’s pool

13 October 2017 3:30 PM
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Couple survives California bushfires by hiding in neighbour’s pool

A CALIFORNIA couple managed to survive six hours in their neighbour’s pool, as houses burned down around them.

Jan Pascoe, 65, and her husband, John, 70, were trapped outside their home in Santa Rose — with nowhere to run or hide — when they made the decision to seek shelter in the blackened, debris-filled pool next door, according to the New York Post .

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

“We are going to get into the neighbour’s pool, should we do this?’” Jan remembered telling a 911 dispatcher.

The couple had been watching the bushfires from inside their mountaintop home before they eventually went outside in an attempt to escape, the LA Times reports.

“We were in survival mode,” Mrs Pascoe 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.

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

“You’ve got to calm down, Jan,” she told herself. “You can’t go underwater and hyperventilate.”

“Jump in now,” Mr Pascoe ordered, after stripping off his pants and jacket.

All Mrs Pascoe 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,” Mrs Pascoe explained. “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 told the LA Times, they held T-shirts over their faces — while bobbing in and out of the water.

“I thought someone would come to get us,” Mrs Pascoe said. But no one came.

Luckily for her and her husband, though, the pool was just 1.2 metres deep all the way across — making it easy to stay submerged.

The couple wound up staying in the water for about six hours, according to the LA Times.

They reportedly held each other to stay warm and stood back-to-back to stay awake.

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

The wildfires in Northern California have killed at least 31 people — making this the deadliest single week of wildfires in state history, according to officials.

The blazes broke out Sunday night, with more than a dozen being reported since.

Source: news.com.au

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