Elderly Couple Survived Wildfire By Spending The Night In Their Neighbor's Pool


Elderly Couple Survived Wildfire By Spending The Night In Their Neighbor's Pool

Wildfires have been rampaging through California for several days now, and people are doing everything they can to make it out alive. One couple's unique way to survive the flames is quite the interesting story.

Jan and John Pascoe were in their Santa Rosa home when they started to smell smoke. "We'd experienced fire before," said Jan. "But the issue always was, how far away is it?" They had received no official evacuation alerts and according to the news it was still 11 miles away. It wasn't until their daughter called that they realized they needed to leave.

Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

John packed a couple valuables into his truck, but the winds picked up before they could get away. "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.'"

As they tried to flee the area, they quickly ran into issues. Jane said that "it was a wall of flames," in front of them, so they ended up going back to their home. "We were in survival mode. What are we going to do? What are we going to do?"

They were completely trapped in their home that was about to get engulfed in flames, but then they remembered their neighbors pool. They called 911 and spoke to a dispatcher to check if their plan would work. Jan asked them "We are going to get into the neighbors' pool, should we do this?" The dispatcher replied that they should "get anywhere safe".

Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The couple didn't have much of a choice, the cold water was their only escape from the intense heat...

Jan hoped that they wouldn't be stuck in the chilly water long. "In my naivete, all night long, I thought someone would come to get us." 70-year-old John and 65-year-old Jan waited until their neighbors house had caught on fire before they finally jumped in the water.

The water was filled with ash from the burning buildings and trees around, but it was at least safer than the ground. They submerged under the water as needed to keep safe, using a t-shirt to cover their faces when they needed to come up for air.

Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

They got as far from the house as possible. At the edge of the pool they waited for the fire to pass. "I just kept going under," she said. "And I kept saying, "˜How long does it take for a house to burn down?' We were freezing."

It was six hours until the sun came up and finally the majority of the flames had subsided. John made his way up the hill to see the damage, and everything was gone. Their entire house had burned to the ground, and even the tires on their truck had melted off.

They described it as looking as though an apocalypse had occurred. Everything had burned to the ground except one angel statue that was near the pool. John and his wife were lucky to make it out. "We held hands," John said, "and walked out."

Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

They hadn't been in contact with their daughter since before they had jumped in the pool, so she was completely unaware of how they were. Zoe said that she asked her husband and sister, "Do you think they are gone? Do you think I need to prepare myself for this?"

Finally, by 7:30 a.m. they were told that her parents survived. "We started sobbing," Mia said."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?'"

Luckily, the family has reunited after this tragic event. Everyone managed to survive and while their possessions are gone, at least they found a way to stay safe.