“Grandpa, Come Get Me”: Last Moments Of 5-Year-Old Boy Killed In Wildfire

Ed Bledsoe had just left to run an errand when he received a phone call. It was his wife, who was at home with their two great-grandchildren.
Come back, she told him, because the fire was closing in on their home. On the phone with him as he rushed back home was his 5-year-old great-grandson, who pleaded with him to hurry.
“He just kept saying, ‘Grandpa,’ he said, ‘Come get me,’ “ Bledsoe told CNN, his voice shaking as he broke down mid-sentence. “He said, ‘Come get me . . . The fire is coming in the back door. Come on, grandpa.’ “
But Bledsoe never made it home, and his family never made it out. His wife, Melody Bledsoe, 70, and their two great-grandchildren, James Roberts Jr., 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were among the six people who died as a massive wildfire scorched thousands of acres of parched land across two counties in rural northern California. The so-called Carr Fire has twice doubled in size since it started a week ago, burning through nearly 100,000 acres as of Monday.
More than 700 houses have been destroyed, while another 5,000 structures remain threatened. The wildfire, one of more than a dozen burning across California amid a hotter-than-average summer, has driven thousands of people out of their homes.
As of Monday, the fire is 20 percent contained – slightly higher than Sunday night’s number. But the fire has continued to grow over the past 24 hours, burning through 98,724 acres of land so far, said Gabe Lauderdale, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
“Firefighters are working at building containment lines around the Carr Fire and strengthening containment lines that are already in place,” Lauderdale said.
Officials, however, seemed optimistic Monday that they could control the fire – the largest of several wildfires across the state.
“Firefighters are making good progress. There are certain areas of the fire that they’re able to go on with boots on the ground,” said Lisa Wilkolak, information officer for Carr Fire.
Wilkolak said the fire has moved toward less densely populated areas west and northwest of Redding, California, where the Bledsoes lived. By Monday morning, officials lifted evacuation orders for several parts of Redding.
The Redding Police Department said in a news release Monday that once residents return to their homes, some may find that their houses had been looted. It’s unclear how many have been victimized, or how many incidents of looting have been reported. On Sunday night, police arrested two people for entering evacuated and restricted areas.
The Carr fire began just after 1 p.m. July 23 and was caused by a mechanical issue involving a vehicle. Two days later, Ed Bledsoe left to run errands, thinking his home was not in any danger, he told CBS Sacramento. Minutes later, his wife called him, so he turned around, only to find that the fire had blocked his path home. Efforts to reach Bledsoe and other family members Monday were unsuccessful.