A Redding woman tried to save her two great-grandchildren by covering them with a wet blanket as the Carr fire swept through her home, her family said Saturday.
Authorities confirmed Saturday that Melody Bledsoe, 70, and her great-grandchildren Emily and James Roberts, ages 4 and 5, respectively, died in the blaze. Bledsoe’s granddaughter Amanda Woodley provided more details in a public Facebook post written just after she left the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.
Woodley said Bledsoe did everything she could to save the children. “She was hovered over them both with a wet blanket,” she wrote.
“My heart is crushed,” she said. “I can’t believe this is real. I just keep seeing all of their beautiful faces.”
Bledsoe’s husband, Ed, wasn’t home when the fire struck, according to an online fundraiser created by another family member. The family did not believe the home was under evacuation when Ed Bledsoe went out to get supplies. The family was renting and did not have insurance.
“Ed has lost everything important to him,” Cyn Hoskison wrote on the GoFundMe page, which had raised nearly $700 as of 4 p.m. Saturday. “His whole world has been ripped away from him.”
The children called their great-grandfather while he was at the store, saying the fire was approaching.
Speaking to the Sacramento Bee, Ed Bledsoe wept as he recounted trying to get back to the house.
“God Almighty, I don’t know what I done wrong,” he said. “I talked to them until the fire got them.”
Authorities said they were also struggling with the loss.
“My sympathy goes out to the family,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said.
He said the fire consumed the house, the walls collapsed and the roof is covering the footprint of the home, making it difficult to access.
A total of five people have been confirmed dead in the Carr fire. A Redding firefighter and a bulldozer operator died Thursday.
Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines was identified by the Shasta County Sheriff's Office as the man who died while operating a bulldozer. Smith was overtaken by the fire and his body was found in the area of Benson Drive and Rock Creek Road. Smith was found dead by emergency personnel.