A husband and wife who were caught in a fast-moving fire jumped into a neighbor’s pool in an attempt to stay alive as the flames closed in on them from every direction. They tried to leave, but the roads were blocked as flames raged around their home in the hills overlooking Santa Rosa, which turned into a massive inferno.
John and Jan Pascoe watched as their hillside view at their home became an instant wall of fire with no way to escape. Realizing they were trapped in their home, which would soon be a pile of embers, they frantically brainstormed for a place to stay safe. That is when they remembered that their neighbors had a pool, reports Fox News.
A quick decision to ride out the fire in that pool started with a 911 call to tell rescuers where they were so hopefully they could find a way into the neighborhood to rescue them. It was almost 1 a.m. when John, 70, and Jan, 65, entered that pool. They spent the next six hours in the murky, dirty, and cold water of that pool while praying they would make it through this horrific fire.
Jan was hyperventilating with fear, she told herself “you’ve got to calm down. You can’t go underwater and hyperventilate,” according to the LA Times.
The couple explained how they quickly got into a survival mode and as they debated with each other if they should get into that pool. The decision was basically made for them while standing on the edge of that pool.
The scene around them escalated as the neighbor’s house caught on fire, a big tree next to the pool started to shoot out flames and the railroad ties ignited in flames, the ones used to frame the steps leading to the pool. John said: “The heat was ‘whoa.” This is when he stripped off his clothes, which left him wearing only a T-shirt. He then turned to Jan and said, “Jump in now.”
They moved to the end of the pool furthest from the now burning house and John’s concerns that they would need to tread water in the deep end or hold onto the sides of the pool were soon put to rest. They lucked out, the pool was only four-feet deep all the way across.
At one point they can remember waiting for the fire to consume the house, thinking “how long does it take for a house to burn to the ground. During the ordeal, between going under the water, the couple placed shirts over their heads so they wouldn’t get burned by the flying embers.
Jan had tucked her phone into her shoe and left it on the edge of the pool but when she looked over at her shoes after being in the pool for some time, she saw that it was melted. They were freezing and she couldn’t wait for the fire to pass so they could warm themselves on the concrete, but it continued to rage around them.
That four-foot deep, debris-filled pool was the couple’s refuge from the fire. They held onto each other, hugging and repeating how much they loved each other as the inferno raged around them. Jan told reporters the following.
“I just kept going under and I kept saying, ‘How long does it take for a house to burn down?’ We were freezing.”
The couple’s daughter had called them earlier that evening and urged them to leave their home as this was a fast-moving fire. They heeded their daughter’s advice and tried to drive, but the fire blocked their way. For those six hours that the couple took refuge in that pool, their children could not get a hold of them, leaving their children panic-stricken for the welfare of their parents.
Their kids did think their parents were dead, but when Zoe Giraudo and her sister Mia got word that they were alright, they cried for joy. John and Jan lost their cat in the fire and their house was burned to the ground, but they are alive.
[Featured Image by Ben Margot/AP Images]