A Californian couple survived for six hours as a wildfire raged around them – destroying everything in a five-mile radius – by taking shelter in their neighbours’ swimming pool.
Jan and John Pascoe tried to flee their home in the hills above the city of Santa Rosa as the conflagration closed in on Sunday night only to discover they had been cut off by a wall of flames.
The retired couple had to hold each other for warmth in the cold water even as the fire melted personal effects they left on the poolside.
Meanwhile their two adult daughters endured an agonising wait after losing contact with their parents shortly after calling to urge them to evacuate.
Mr Pascoe, 70, and Mrs Pascoe, 65, described their escape as the death toll for the wildfires rose to 31, making them the most deadly to ravage the state since 1933.