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Two families hid in pools during the California fires, and their stories end in very different ways – A N I T H
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Two families hid in pools during the California fires, and their stories end in very different ways

Two families hid in pools during the California fires, and their stories end in very different ways


The wildfires ravaging California have been devastating this week, with over 30 people dead so far and countless of homes have been destroyed

While countless of stories are coming from the Golden State, two families shared horrifying accounts of hiding in their respective pools for safety until the flames have passed. 

“In my naïveté, all night long,” Jan Pascoe told the LA Times, “I thought someone would come to get us.” 

The 65 year old was trapped with her 70-year-old husband, John, for six hours, hiding in the pool after their attempt to evacuate was met with “a wall of flames” and were forced to turn back. 

“I just kept going under,” she told the newspaper. “And I kept saying, ‘How long does it take for a house to burn down?’ We were freezing.” 

Once the fire passed, they managed to escape. “We held hands,” John explained, “and walked out.” 

Despite the close call, the Pascoes both survived and were reunited with their children shortly after the fire had passed. All of their belongings were demolished in the fire.

Unfortunately, the Berriz family had a very different ending to their story.

Carmen and Armando Berriz were married for 55 years and according to SF Gate, the husband and wife clung to each other in a pool for hours as well, until Carmen stopped breathing and passed in Armando’s arms. Their family had been in Santa Rosa on vacation, and after their son, Luis Ocon, noticed flames were encroaching their residence, everyone evacuated as quickly as possible.  

Armando tripped on a tree which slowed him and his wife down considerably, so much so that their best option was to return to the home and find refuge in the pool. Armando was able to walk two miles to find a firefighter, and was reunited with his family. 

“He’s had a rough time,” Luis Ocon told SF Gate, explaining that Armando was back in his home in Apple Valley. “But he’s unbelievably strong.”

You can read more about the life of Carmen Berriz here, and you can learn more about how you can support victims of the fires here



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Anith Gopal
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