A California couple managed to survive the wildfire raging around their house for six hours by waiting it out in their neighbor's pool.
John and Jan Pascoe attempted to flee their home in the hills above the city of Santa Rosa on Sunday night. They quickly learned that their path away from the wildfire had been cut off by a wall of flames.
The retired couple huddled together in the cold water as the heat melted their personal effects they left on the poolside.
During an interview with the LA Times, the Pascoes said that they first smelled smoke around 10 pm. However, Jan's phone said that the fire was still 11 miles away and that they hadn't received any official alerts.
The couple then received a call from their daughter, Zoe Giraudo, who explained that her father-in-law's home, which was 40 miles away, had burned down. She urged her parents to evacuate.
John then chose to put some of their personal effects in his truck and they went to bed thinking that they would be safe for the time being.
Around midnight, John and Jan were woken by another call from their daughter. At that time, the wind had picked up and the flames became closer.
“I looked out the window,” Jan said, “and all I saw was a red glow. I said, ‘John, we’ve got to get out of here.’”
The couple got in their car but then ran into the "wall of flames" and were forced to go back. Jan said that she started to panic, but she and John soon remembered that one of their neighbors had an outdoor pool.
Jan and John waited until the very last moment before they got into the cold water. They decided it was time to get in the pool after seeing their neighbor's house and a large tree next to the pool go up in flames.
They used wet T-shirts to protect their faces from the flying embers. Fortunately, the pool was only 4 ft deep end-to-end so they were not forced to tread water while waiting out the fire.
The death toll from the wildfire has risen to 31, making it the most deadly one to come through the state since 1933, according to Yahoo News. More than 3,500 homes have been destroyed with more than 25,000 people being displaced.