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Firefighters cut holes in pool to save woman, home from burning

Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:04:17 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 06 2013 02:00:00 AM CDT
PALERMO, Calif. -

Unconventional methods of firefighting helped CAL FIRE crews save a Butte County home from burning in the Summit Fire, and saved the life of the woman trapped inside.

"The fire was coming up so bad and so fast," said Palermo resident Lonna Starck. "They were trying to evacuate us but they just said it's too late. Get in the house."

It is at that time when quick, unique thinking by firefighters saved Starck's home and life. She lives on Crosa Countre Road with her husband Bill and son Tommy. Lonna was home alone with her pets when the Summit Fire broke out late Friday Night, burning 305-acres.

With not enough notice to leave, CAL FIRE officials took charge.

Taking quick action, they went against the typical firefighting playbook and attacked the Starck's pool. Roughly 3,500-gallons of water came gushing out.

"They cut it with the chainsaw which they said had never been done before," said Starck. "They cut it in three places with the chainsaw and it caused the water to flow out and put the fire and save the house. It's what saved the house."

The water flooded the surrounding area of her home, doused the flames, and saved much of her property. Stark said it bought CAL FIRE some time, allowing them to then use more traditional firefighting tools.

Much of the Starck's house was saved. They told KRCR News Channel 7 that some of their property was destroyed including a truck, their back porch, a nearby pump house, a new $1,700 shed, and Tommy's motorcycle.