A couple survived the deadly California wildfire by spending sixed hours submerged in their neighbor’s pool.
Shortly after midnight on Monday morning, John Pascoe, 70 and his wife Jan, 65, received a call from their older daughter telling them they needed to evacuate, reported the Los Angeles Times.
The couple had gone to bed around 10 p.m. on Sunday, even though their daughter had called to say that her father-in-law’s house 40 miles away from where they lived had burned down, according to Today. Since they hadn’t received any official alerts to evacuate, they assumed they would be fine.
But after their daughter’s second call, Jan looked outside “and all I saw was a red glow,” she told the LA Times. “I said, ‘John, we’ve got to get out of here.’ ”
After gathering a few belongings — including their 17-year-old cat — they got into their truck to evacuate, but there was nowhere to go. “It was a wall of flames,” Jan added.
Having no other option, the couple went to their neighbor’s property and prepared to get in the pool. Jan also called 911 and told the dispatcher where they were, expecting somebody would come to save them soon, reported Today.
“I just kept going under,” Jan told the LA Times. “And I kept saying, ‘How long does it take for a house to burn down?’ We were freezing.”
Six hours later, after the fire had finally passed, the couple walked back to find their house — along with their cars — completely burned, reported Today.
At about 8:30 a.m. on Monday they were able to contact their daughters to tell them they had survived the deadly blaze. “I started screaming,” their daughter, Zoe Giraudo, 38, told the LA Times. “The first thing mom said to me was ‘I feel so bad I wasn’t able to get a hold of you.’ ‘You’re apologizing to me? After all you’ve been through?’ ”
RELATED VIDEO: Northern California Wildfires
At least 31 people have been killed in the wildfires that have been burning across Northern California since Sunday, making it the deadliest week for wildfires in the state’s history.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in several counties as the fires, which began on Sunday, swept through Northern California and urged Donald Trump to declare an official state of disaster to support local relief efforts.
“In less than 24 hours, more than 18 fires began burning in at least seven counties and have collectively burned more than 80,000 acres,” Brown wrote in a statement.
The fires continued well into Tuesday and Brown said that the flames grew so rapidly that residents had little time to leave their homes and flee to temporary shelters. He added that officials expect the number of deaths as a result of the fire to grow.