Heartbreaking last phone call of children killed in California wildfires
A grandfather said he wishes he had ‘died with’ his wife and great-grandchildren, who were killed by the devastating California wildfires despite her best efforts to save them.
Ed Bledsoe, had driven to the doctors last Thursday, unaware the wildfires ravaging parts of Shasta County were so close to his neighbourhood.
It took just 15 minutes for the flames to engulf his Redding home, trapping his wife Melody, 70, and their two great-grandchildren James, four, and Emily, five, inside.
Melody had bravely tried to save the children’s lives with wet blankets but was later found covering their bodies after all three had passed away.
Heartbroken Ed told US reporters: "I would’ve liked to have went in there and died with them.
"I can’t blame it on nobody but me. I shouldn’t have left my family in harm’s way."
Ed went on to reveal how James had made a desperate phone call to his grandfather, pleading with him to come home and rescue them, reports CNN .
He added: "He just kept saying ‘Grandpa, come and get me.
"The fire’s coming in the back door. Come on Grandpa. I said ‘I’m right down the road’."
Ed returned home but was stopped from entering the family home by firefighters.
Both James, four, and Emily, five, had been living with their great-grandparents Melody and Ed.
Melody had desperately tried to save the children by covering them in wet blankets and laying on top of them.
The fires were driven by ferocious winds fuelling the spread of the blaze, catching thousands of residents ‘off-guard’ according to police, who had reportedly issued evacuation orders for the area.
While many were lucky to escape the blaze in time, Melody and her grandchildren died before being discovered huddled together inside their home on Satuday.
After two days of searching for their bodies, the family were called to the Sheriff’s office on Saturday to be told the heartbreaking news.
Another aunt, Amanda Woodley, said the family had been "crushed" by the news.
She wrote on Facebook : "After leaving the Sheriff’s office it is confirmed grandma Mel and Emily and Jr (James) have all went home to be with the Lord.
"Grandma did everything she could to save them she was hovered over them both with a wet blanket.
"The family that lives in town are all together mourning three amazing souls my heart is crushed I can’t believe this is real.
"I just keep seeing all of their beautiful faces it has been a really tough couple of days but today we have sadly received confirmation."
Ed said his wife was "the best" when it came to caring for her two Emily and James.
He added: "That woman was the best I ever saw and them two kids was absolute angels.
"They done everything for their grandma and grandpa.
"I’d give my life for them. I just don’t know what I’ve done wrong. I get two angels like that and I leave them in the damn fire."
The Carr Fire, which has destroyed more than 500 buildings, is the deadliest and most destructive of nearly 90 wildfires burning from Texas to Oregon.
The Carr Fire has charred 89,194 acres (36,095 hectares) of drought-parched vegetation since erupting last Monday.
On Sunday it was confirmed that the death toll had risen to six.
The fireball destroyed hundreds of buildings and sent thousands of frantic residents fleeing from their homes.
More than 38,000 people in Redding and elsewhere in Shasta County have been ordered to leave their homes from the 80,900-acre Carr Fire as authorities warned more evacuations were possible.
Some 3,400 firefighters on the ground and in 17 helicopters were battling the fire as it ripped through Redding, a city of 90,000 people, in California’s scenic Shasta-Trinity area.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the town of Keswick, with a population of just 450, has been left in smoldering ruins.
Law enforcement officials are currently trying to locate seven people reported missing, but said the number of missing has fluctuated in recent days.
Redding Police Sergeant Todd Cogle said: "We don’t want to give the impression that all these people have suffered some kind of grave circumstances.
"We sent officers to some of these places (where they lived) and the houses were intact, so it’s more than likely those people just evacuated."
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