Woman Dies in Husband's Arms While Taking Shelter in Swimming Pool to Escape California Wildfire
They waited in the pool for hours, but she didn't make it.
A woman died in her husband’s arms as the couple clung to one another inside a swimming pool overnight during the deadliest week of wildfires in California's history.
Carmen, 75, and 76-year-old Armando Berriz, who have been married for 55 years, huddled in a pool for hours as the Tubbs Fire raged from Calistoga west into Santa Rosa in the early hours of Monday morning.
They had reportedly jumped in to escape the flames that engulfed the house they were renting, which unexpectedly caught fire at about 1 a.m., reports said.
The couple and family members had rented the hilltop home for their annual vacation.
Once the fire started, the family reportedly fled the house in cars, and everyone made it to the bottom of the hill safely except Carmen and Armando, NBC 4 reported.
Family members later learned that the couple had become trapped by a fallen tree on the drive down and when they couldn’t go any further, they exited the vehicle and made their way back up the ridge to the house, Fox News reported.
"They went hand in hand, together, and jumped into the pool,” Monica Ocon, Carmen's daughter, told the station.
Carmen Berriz, who had a history of lung troubles, eventually stopped breathing around 7 a.m. as the flames destroyed the rented house behind them, according to reports.
Armando was eventually able to get out of the pool and made his way down the hill, reports said. He was taken to a burn a center. He is reportedly recovering from wounds on his face, head, and hands.
Carmen Berriz was among 31 people killed from 20 fires burning across Northern California this week.
"Everybody loved her," Ocon told CNN. ”This loss has affected family and friends around the world."
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