Thursday, 28 December 2017

Survival story of 2017

Jan and Jon Pascoe, very blessed and lucky to be alive.
California will remember this year for two catastrophic fires, one in October in Santa Rosa and north of San Francisco, and another one that started in early December and still not fully contained around Los Angeles, especially in Ventura County. But the saga of the Pascoe couple was the true survival story of the year. They were able to save their lives by spending 6 terrified hours in a neighbor’s swimming pool, slipping below the surface to avoid the flames and embers flying around. They would come up for air every few seconds, then slipping under the water again as the devastating wind-whipped storm destroyed their home, their entire neighborhood and very nearly cost their lives. After six hours in the pool, at daylight when the fire had died down, they got out of the pool, and covered in soot, they walked hand in hand, still shivering in the chilly 40 degree temperature, until they reached a Sheriff’s deputy, who described them as ‘two zombies covered with ash.’  
Jon and Jan Pascoe re-visiting the pool that saved their lives.
Jan is 65, a retired art teacher, and she borrowed some clothes, an oversized fisherman’s sweater that dwarfed her slender body and shoes from a friend. Jon, himself an artist borrowed some jeans and a denim shirt to appear more decently in front of people. The fire had killed 40 people and destroyed hundreds of homes. After the ordeal was over, the Pascoes stayed with a daughter in San Francisco, while the other daughter and her family traveled to meet them from Park City, Utah.  They eventually settled in a friend’s cottage in Healdsburg, where they will live until spring and another house is built. Jon and Jan are overwhelmed with grief – they lost many friends, their elderly cat and Jon lost 100 of his paintings. But they are alive, because of will-power, sheer courage and a swimming pool that saved their lives. 

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